That’s how long it took Sioux City Heelan to assert itself as the superior team in Saturday night’s Class 3A girls’ basketball state-championship game.
The top-ranked Crusaders jumped all over No. 2 Waukon early and cruised to the title, 73-54, at Wells Fargo Arena.
All-tournament captain Carli Tritz nabbed a single-game tournament-record 11 steals as the Crusaders finished 26-1.
“We weren’t going to be stopped,” Tritz said. “You can slow down a freight train, but it’s going to keep going.”
Heelan was in its third straight final. The Crusaders won the 2008 title, settled for second last year, then returned to glory last night.
“Sometimes, the other team is just better than you are,” said Waukon Coach Gene Klinge.
The first quarter was a Crusader clinic, from a set play on the opening tip.
Maggie Vondrak tipped forward to Millie Niggeling, who hit a streaking Tritz for the basket.
Four seconds in, and Heelan was up.
The assault didn’t stop there. Tritz hit all six of her floor attempts in a 13-second quarter, after which Heelan led, 26-12.
The Indians (25-2) responded with a strong second period, cutting the deficit to 37-30 by intermission.
Mary Halvorson had the Indians’ first eight points and had 17 by halftime.
“At halftime, we were ecstatic,” Halvorson said. “Then we came out in the second half and we couldn’t capitalize on anything.”
Heelan scored the first eight points of the second half and had a 52-33 lead by the time Klinge took a timeout with 5:15 left in the third.
“I talked in the locker room on how the first four minutes of the third quatrer were going to detemine the outcome,” Klinge said. “If we could score six or seven in a row, we could get right back in it. Or they could score six or seven in a row and leave us.”
The margin swelled to 25 points early in the fourth quarter.
Tritz finished with 25 points and five assists to go with her 11 steals. Millie Niggeling added 22 points.
“They were too tall for us,” Halvorson said. “We couldn’t stop them, we made stupid passes.
“Something just broke down.”
A Creighton recruit, Tritz was joined on the all-tourney team by Vondrak and Halvorson, as well as Marion’s Morgan Paige, Ballard’s Taylor Greenfield and Algona’s Kirsten Lipps.
Halvorson registered 24 points and nine rebounds. Carissa Berger added 10 points for the Indians.
Photos by Liz Martin