DENISON - “It’s going to take an awfully good team to beat them. I predict they’ll win their third straight title. They are a pretty talented team,” said Glenwood boys basketball coach Curt Schulte in describing the Bishop Heelan basketball team.
After what the top ranked and two time defending Class 3A state champions did to Glenwood over the final two quarters in Friday’s Class 3A District final, it’s hard to argue with Schulte’s assessment.
The Crusaders used a 26-8 third quarter run to pull away from Glenwood in a 34-29 game to go on to a 79-52 victory over the Rams in Denison.
“I felt really good at halftime. We’re down by five and I felt like our zone was working,” said Schulte. “Even halfway through the third quarter I was feeling pretty good, but, they’re super athletic and they can score in a hurry. They’re explosive. There are No. 1 and the two time defending state champions for a reason.”
For the first 16 minutes, Schulte used a tight 2-3 zone to slow the Crusaders, who entered the game 21-2 and averaging 70 points per game. Schulte said using a zone was a strategic one – he didn’t feel like his team could quite match the Crusaders’ athleticism man-to-man.
“I’d seen their quickness live and on tape. They’re so quick. Theyre are so few teams I think that could guard them man-to-man. So we spent two or three days just working on our zone defense for them and I thought it was pretty productive for us for two and a half quarters.”
Into the third quarter, the Rams trailed by just five before Heelan turned it up a notch. A few quick buckets and a couple more Ram turnovers and Heelan pulls away for good.
“All of a sudden that five point lead is 15 points just like that,” said Schulte. “They can score in a hurry, they’ve been doing it all year and we knew they had the capability of doing that. Before we knew it we’re in the fourth quarter and we’d dug ourselves a pretty big hole.”
The Crusaders 79 points were the most the Rams have allowed in a game all season.
Zone or no zone, Schulte’s crew had a tough time containing Crusader point guard Wesley Staten. Staten, who committed to play basketball for Iowa State prior to his freshman year in high school, scored a team-high 24 points, grabbed eight rebounds and swiped five steals against the Rams. Staten combined with Alex Malloy and Michael Malloy to score 55 of the Crusaders’ 79 points.
“He is talented,” said Schulte of Staten. “He is probably the quickest athlete we’ve faced this year. He’s the real deal. He’s a Division I player right now and he’s only a junior.”
The Crusaders seemingly had just as much trouble containing the Rams’ Cole Darrow.
Darrow scored a game-high 30 points in the game on 13-of-28 shooting. Glenwood’s all-time leading scorer, Darrow surpassed the 1,000 point mark in the game and completes his career with 1,007 points.
“Cole had a great night. We had eight guys that scored for us but he was out primary scorer,” said Schulte. “He had an outstanding game and I thought the other kids did a lot of great things. They didn’t score maybe as much as I’d have liked them to but they did a good job defensively and I thought we rebounded pretty well.”
Glenwood finishes the season with a record of 13-10. The Rams’ 13 wins are the most for the program since the 1959-1960 season. The Rams also won the Hawkeye 10 Conference’s first southern division grown. Their first round district victory over Atlantic last Monday was the Rams’ first district since 2005.
“We’re going to miss these eight seniors,” said Schulte of his senior laden team. “They’re a hard working group who put a lot of work in during the off-season and time in the season. They were truly a fun group to work with and they accomplished a lot.”