Benton forward Chase Petersen drives toward two of his game-high 19 points in Thursday’s game against LeBlond at Springer Gymnasium.
Benton seniors Chase Petersen and Trevor Mull came up big for the Cardinals in their last home game at Springer Gymnasium Thursday night.
Petersen led all scorers with 19 points as the Cardinals defeated the Bishop LeBlond Golden Eagles 54-46.
The senior forward consistently dominated inside the paint, adding 10 rebounds for a double-double.
“We were all excited to play today,” Petersen said. “We just came out juiced. I felt like I could take advantage inside and that’s what I tried to do.”
Both teams started the game strong offensively and were tied at 16 all at the end of the first quarter.
LeBlond started 4-for-4 as a team from behind the arc in the first quarter, while Petersen and junior Chol Ater scored 14 of Benton’s points.
The second quarter started of much the same as LeBlond hit its first two 3-point attempts of the quarter before Benton head coach Gary Belcher made a change in his defensive assignments.
“We found a group that wanted to go down and pay attention to their guy,” Belcher said. “We put Chol on Jaren (Guck) and I thought Carson Newlon did a good job on (Chris) Guldan.”
The change grounded the Eagle offense while the Cardinals soared to take a 35-23 halftime lead.
Ater had another big game for the Cardinals (9-13), scoring 12 points while dishing out multiple assists to his big men inside.
Neither team was able to muster much offense in the third quarter and when Benton extended its lead to 49-35 with just under three minutes left in the game, it seemed as though the game was over.
To the Eagles (8-16) credit, a 3-point shot by Guldan with 2:32 left cut the lead to 11. After trading buckets, a technical foul was called on the Cardinals. Guldan’s two free throws cut the lead to nine.
With 24 seconds left LeBlond had cut the lead to five at 51-46.
“I was just proud of the way the fought, they never gave up on it,” LeBlond coach Mitch Girres said of his team’s comeback bid. “Chris made some tough plays, Marcos made some tough plays down the stretch. We just didn’t have enough to get over the hump.”
Mull was fouled on the inbound pass and stepped to the line with the Eagle student section at full throat.
Mull sank both shots from the charity stripe, silencing the LeBlond faithful and all but putting the game out of reach.
“As a group we went 7 of 10 from the line in the fourth,” Belcher said. “We just did what we needed to do to finish out a game.”
Both teams start district play next week. LeBlond will face Hamilton Tuesday night at Mid-Buchanan High School in Class 2 District 16, while Benton will have to wait until Class 4 District 16 seedings are formed to find out their first round opponent for Feb. 23 at Winnetonka.