Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
Helias coach Sarah Eagan couldn’t have asked for a much better start to her run as the Lady Crusaders basketball coach. Helias won all three of its 12-minute scrimmages in Friday’s Jamboree at Helias.
The Lady Crusaders defeated Fatima 27-22, Blair Oaks 28-6 and Jefferson City 17-12.
”It feels great,” Eagan said. I’m just so proud of the girls. We’ve worked so hard these last couple of weeks, and I’m glad to see where we’re at right now.”
The Lady Crusaders jumped out to a 7-0 lead to start the night against Fatima. After taking a 17-9 second-half lead, the Lady Comets pulled within three points thanks to a 8-2 run. Helias hung tough, though, preventing Fatima from getting any closer.
Senior Luci Francka put up 11 points in the opener to lead the Lady Crusaders.
”The girls look up to her so much,” Eagan said.
Lauren Alexander paced the Lady Crusaders in their second scrimmage, scoring 10 against Blair Oaks. Helias was tight on defense, holding Blair Oaks without a field goal in the first half and to just two in the second.
“We just kind of wanted to see where we were at right now,” Eagan. “We knew, as far as practicing, we’ve put in a lot of things this week, so we just kind of wanted to see what we needed to work on, what we’re good at right now, and kind of go from there.”
After averaging more than two points a minute in each of the first two scrimmage, the Lady Crusaders found themselves in a defensive slugfest in the third.
Helias and Jefferson City, which sat many of its first-string players, were still in digits after the first 6-minute period with Helias leading 9-8. The teams combined for seven turnovers in that time.
The Lady Jays took their first lead since 3:16 with two free throws, but the Lady Crusaders embarked on an 8-0 run to take the final lead. Mai Nienhueser led the way with six points, the same total she posted in each of the first two scrimmages. Her 18 points tied her with Francka as Helias’ leading scorer on the night.
Because Helias was the host school, Eagan got her first taste of coaching high-school basketball with four schools playing in her own gym.
“It’s very exciting,” she said. “Especially to see the stands as full as they were tonight. Districts are here this year, so that’ll be exciting too. We’re just excited.”
Helias hosts Blair Oaks on Tuesday to start the season.