Helias Catholic in Jefferson City had to turn fans away and lock the doors Tuesday as most of the 1,500 fans who bought a reserved ticket were in their seats by the start of the 6 p.m. girls basketball game. The jammed packed Rackers Fieldhouse was hosting a rematch of two state basketball powerhouses as the Class 4 third ranked Helias Crusaders took on Class 3’s top ranked Father Tolton Blazers of Columbia.
The fans were so tightly packed into the gym, that as they arrived, the Helias pep band was asked to leave their place on the bleachers midway through the girl’s game to accommodate the crowd.
The Tolton Blazers, led by Michael Porter’s 29 points, topped the Crusaders 63-44. After falling behind 7-0, Helias steadied and came back against Tolton as the two teams battled back and forth with Tolton taking a 45-40 lead into the fourth quarter. That’s when the Blazers took over, getting to loose balls and finishing plays, the Blazers improved to 20-2 on the season.
The two teams played in the semifinals of the Great 8 Tournament in Jefferson City in December, when Helias beat Tolton 58-56.
In the girls game, Helias won 48-33.