SIOUX CITY | The East-Bishop Heelan rivalry produced a thriller for the second straight night on Friday.
One night after the East boys rallied for a one-point win over Heelan, the Black Raider girls beat Heelan 64-63 on a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Paige Hanson.
Indeed, East’s home court was kind to the home team once again when Hanson swished a trey as the horn sounded.
On Thursday, Heelan had a last-second shot roll around the rim and out in an emotional 58-57 setback to its longtime rival.
Hanson, a senior, connected on just her third shot of the game and first in the second half, giving East its second triumph of the season. The game was tight throughout and the way things were going, it looked like one of those games where the team that had the ball last would win.
“I was really scared as it was going in,” Hanson said. “I was just lucky enough to have the ball in my hands. We pushed the ball up the court super well the whole game and we did that the last play, too.
“This is only our second win of the season and to get it over Heelan, our big rival, is just amazing. We wanted to beat them on our home court in our senior year and we pulled out the ‘W’.”
Heelan had won 20 of the last 21 games between the teams, including a 73-46 rout on Dec. 16 at Heelan.
The Black Raiders got their chance to win when Heelan’s Ella Skinner missed the front end of a one-and-one with 5.2 seconds left and her team leading 63-61. East rebounded and got the ball upcourt quickly, finding Hanson open on the right wing.
“It was our standard fast break offense and our girls fortunately dribbled into the right spot and found her (Hanson) with an extra pass,” first-year East Coach Brian Drent said. “I’d be lying to you if I said we practiced that play a lot. We just had a girl make a shot and it was fun to see.
“We’re finally getting healthy, this is the first time this season we’ve played with our full roster. That’s a big part of sports, especially girls sports, when you start losing players.”
Kennedy McCloy, a talented sophomore guard, kept East afloat in the second half, scoring 18 of her game-high 21 points. McCloy made repeated drives to the basket and was fouled on the last one with seven seconds remaining, making one of two free throws to pull her team within 63-61.
Heelan elected to throw a long inbounds pass and Skinner – who had all 10 of her points in the fourth quarter – gathered it in and was fouled. She missed the free throw, however, setting up Hanson’s heroics.
Maycen Schueth finished with 12 points for Heelan (8-5, 5-2) which slipped out of sole possession of first place in the conference. The Crusaders are now tied with Sergeant Bluff-Luton and West for the league lead.
“There were a lot of positives for us tonight, some kids stepped in and made plays for us,” Heelan Coach Darron Koolstra said. “Katelyn Lawler came off the bench and had a huge night. We had a lot of mental mistakes tonight and that’s been our Achilles heel.
“You have to give a lot of credit to East, they’re a team with two wins but they could easily be .500 or better. They play hard and Coach Drent had them ready to play for us tonight and I don’t think we were ready to play.”
Lawler had nine points in a reserve role and Nicole Jacobson seven points and six rebounds. The bench played an even bigger role for East.
Laken Gardner and Madi Van Dyke scored nine points apiece and Olivia Barnes five. Taylor Copple returned to the lineup for the first time since the last Heelan game, contributing six points.
“We’ve played well the last four games but haven’t won that we’ve played well, so we got a little momentum maybe at the right time of the year and we’re going to start playing well,” Drent said. “We’ve challenged Kennedy throughout the year to be able to take the ball to the hoop, we think that’s a big part of her game to get to the free throw line.
“We had a lot of people score and this is our best rebounding game of the year and that was the different tonight.”
The game was tied 11-11 after one quarter and Heelan had leads of 27-26 at halftime and 46-45 after three quarters. Heelan’s largest lead in the fourth quarter was four points.