Benet triumphs over Nazareth 53-44 in crucial conference matchup

Jacob Infante ‘19, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Despite the heated rivalry between the two teams, the Benet Academy boys basketball team saw their matchup against Nazareth Academy on January 11 as merely another conference game.

That’s not to say that this game was not important to them; any conference game is an important one. However, the Redwings managed to keep an even-keel approach to the rivalry matchup, and that approach resulted in a 53-44 win at home.

“We all know about the rivalry between Benet and [Nazareth], but we all tried to put that aside and focus on coming out with a win,” senior Will Engels told the Benet Herald. “It was a conference game, and we needed to win to stay in the conference race, so that was our biggest motivation for that game.”

The atmosphere in St. Ronald gymnasium was electric for the duration of the game, with both fan bases packing the bleachers and cheering their team on. The first half of the game showcased impressive defense by both teams, as the Roadrunners held a measly 20-19 lead heading into halftime.

The Redwings came out firing in the third quarter, pulling away with the lead after outscoring Nazareth 16-9 in the quarter. Save for a 21-point performance by Roadrunners junior Tagen Pearson, Benet shut their opponents down defensively, allowing just one other Nazareth player to score more than five points.

Benet realized that their style of play was not working in the first half, so they relied on the likes of senior Kendrick Tchoua and junior Colin Crothers to score in the paint, which then led to a handful of open opportunities from long range.

“They zoned us basically the entire game and in the first half we weren’t attacking it like we should,” Engels said. “The keys to beating a zone are getting the ball inside to either score or kick out to open shooters. In the second half, we did a good job of getting the ball inside, and we were able to stretch the lead out.”

Benet improved to 14-3 with the victory, picking up their fourth win in conference play of the season. With momentum on their side as the postseason approaches, one can only assume that a deep playoff run could be in their future.