SIOUX CITY | West came agonizingly close to ending a long drought against city rival Bishop Heelan Tuesday, but the Crusaders pulled out a 65-59 boys basketball overtime win at West High.
Heelan outscored the Wolverines 11-5 in the four-minute extra session, extending its winning streak over West to 30 straight games. The 5-0 Crusaders, however, had to overcome a four-point deficit in the final 1:30 of regulation.
“It’s always hard coming up here,” Heelan Coach Andy Foster said. “It’s an environment our kids need to get used to and I need to get used to. They did what they had to do to try and get this game, they found a way to get possessions.
“We were doing great things defensively early, we just weren’t doing anything on the offensive side. When you allow that to happen offensively you’re going to get yourself in trouble.”
If not for dead-eye marksmanship from the free throw line, the Crusaders more than likely would have suffered their first loss to West since Jan. 18, 2003.
Heelan converted 30 of 37 charity tosses, including 23 of 24 in the third and fourth quarters.
“They’re a good, solid team, they’re scary good and did what they had to do,” Foster said. “Spread it out with the lead, make guys guard people, they’re great at ballhandling, attacking the rim and recognizing teammates when a help steps up, they find one another.
“We gave up a couple of easy baskets in the third and fourth. We would answer with free throws and we answered with baskets. Guys stepped up and made free throws and we just found a way to stay in it.”
West’s DeSean Foy, who scored 17 points in his first action of the season, made two free throws with 1:30 left in regulation, giving his team a 54-50 lead. Even after Heelan’s Brenden Roder tied it at 54-54 with two free throws at the 57.7 mark, the Wolverines had the ball with a chance to win.
However, they were called for traveling, giving it back to Heelan with 34.4 seconds remaining. The Crusaders, though, managed only a desperation 3-point attempt by Roder at the buzzer that was off mark.
Cliff McCray, who led West with 22 points, scored the first basket of overtime on a hard drive to the hoop, but Colin Kasperbauer, Jackson Boever and Roder made consecutive buckets for Heelan and the closest West came the rest of the way was three points.
“We work on free throws every day in practice so I felt we were prepared , but that’s all we did,” Kasperbauer said. “Foster said this is one of the toughest places to play and West has a really good team, so we came out here and battled.”
Elijah Hazekamp scored a game-high 25 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. The Heelan senior made all 12 of his free throw attempts. Roder finished with 13 points and Kasperbauer 12.
A sluggish first half for both teams produced a 21-21 tie and Heelan led 39-38 at the end of the third quarter. While the Crusaders were cashing in from the line, West made only 7 of 12 free throws.
“Our boys battled really hard and played really well and hard enough,” West Coach CoCo Cofield said. “There are just opportunities we have to capitalize on to be victorious.
“I don’t know what to say about the free throws. I don’t understand what’s being called. I will look at the film, but I just don’t know what else to say other than they went to the foul line and made their free throws.”
West slipped to 3-3 overall heading into a Thursday home game against Omaha Skutt. Heelan plays at Le Mars Thursday night.