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Crusaders end Indians’ quest

By Staff | Feb 28, 2008

Above, Spirit Lake’s Andy Pringnitz (5) grabs the ball between a pair of Bishop Heelan defenders during the Class 3A substate game at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City on Wednesday. Photos courtensy Jerry Mennenga, Sioux City Journal

SIOUX CITY — While Spirit Lake made a great run to make it to the Class 3A Substate game, Bishop Heelan had a little too much for the Indians.

The Crusaders jumped out to an 8-0 lead and never trailed in the 57-40 victory.

“Defensively I thought we did a good job,” said Spirit Lake coach John Walz. “Offensively, we couldn’t get started and never really did get going.”

While the Indians packed their defense inside to stop 6-9 Brennan Cougil, Heelan’s Tanner Ferguson opened the scoring with a 3-pointer. Bishop Heelan’s top scorer, sophomore standout Zach McCabe scored a couple baskets in the 8-0 run.

The Indians finally got on the board at the 2:37 mark when Mason Bergquist hit a shot. On the next possession, he was fouled and it a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to 8-4.

Mason Bergquist (15) finds space to get off a shot. Photos courtensy Jerry Mennenga, Sioux City Journal

McCabe and the Indians’ Boomer Dreeszen traded baskets, and then the Crusaders ended the first quarter on a 6-0 run, with all points coming from McCabe for a 16-6 lead.

Spirit Lake’s Scott Maudlin scored the first three points of the second quarter, but the Indians hit another dry spell with the Crusaders going on a 9-0 ending on back-to-back 3-pointers by Ferguson.

The Indians out-score Heelan 8-7 to end the half to keep the lead manageable at 32-17.

However, the Crusaders scored the first seven points of the third quarter to push the lead to 22, 39-17.

Spirit Lake still didn’t give up and a 3-pointer play by Bergquist had the lead to 43-24. A basket by Dustin Lowe and a free throw by Maudlin has the deficit to 17, 44-27, to start the final quarter.

The Indians didn’t quit and had the lead to 13, 48-35 with 3:52 remaining before Cougil scored four quick points.

The Indians would get no closer as both teams emptied their benches with 1:27 remaining.

The Indians were led by Bergquist with 15 points while Andy Pringnitz scored eight. Maudlin and Dreeszen each had six points while Low and Joel Hegeman had two. Paul Johnson, a senior who missed the entire season with an elbow injury, entered the game in the closing minutes and knocked down a free throw.

“Nobody worked harder that these boys and no one could be prouder of them they I,” said Walz.

The coach talked about each senior after the game–Pringnitz, Maudlin, Bergquist, Dreeszen, Jones and Joe Nellis, who broke his hand midway through the season.

“Andy, what a team leader,” Walz said. “We missed having a true center and Andy stepped in and did the job.”

“Scotty is the type that goes unnoticed but not by the coaches. If you look at his assist to turnover ratio … he got the ball where it needed to go.”

“Mason is the type of guy with tons of confidence and our blue collar worker. If we needed him to take it to the basket or dive on the floor, he’d do it.”

“Boomer had to play the forward spot against the taller guys. We called him our ‘point forward.’

The Indians were looking to Johnson to be a big part of the team prior to the season and Nellis also was a key component before his injury.

The Indians end the year with an 18-6 record.