Benton guard Malique Bennett goes between two Bishop LeBlond defenders Friday at Civic Arena.
Lafayette guard Cooper Davison, left, celebrates with teammate Ike Book after Lafayette beat Central on Friday at Civic Arena.
Fans got a brief look at a new era of Lafayette boys basketball at Civic Arena on Friday.
It marked the first time coach Kevin Bristol had the opportunity to see his team compete against somebody other than itself. The debut evening was highlighted by a 19-17 win over Central.
“It was a lot of energy to play that game.” Bristol said.
After trailing by as much as 15-9 to Central in the first period, bench depth helped the Irish crawl back into the game.
A 3-point shot by senior Cooper Davison in the final 10 seconds of the game helped Lafayette take the win.
“The thing that I like most about it is that our best player gave up the ball for his teammate to score,” Bristol said. “That just shows what we’re about.”
They defeated Benton 26-20 and beat Bishop LeBlond 23-15 to sweep the City Championship.
LeBlond earned two wins Friday night, one coming from a buzzer beaters. For each of the two wins, it was a story of growth after a slow beginning.
“It was weird,” LeBlond coach Mitch Girres said. “We kind of started off really slow.”
The Golden Eagles took advantage of a sloppy start by the Cardinals to pull ahead early.
Benton attempted to fight back, but could not catch up in the end.
“You can talk about practicing and until you get bout there and playing some, you don’t understand,” Benton coach Gary Belcher said said. “Executing game speed that’s what it’s all about.”
The Cardinals’ main goal of the night was to establish an identity for itself outside of practice.
Belcher felt Benton had glimpses of of a team, but wants continued growth as the first game of the season approaches.
“We’re looking at 13 different kids to find out where the chemistry is going to be between players,” Belcher said. “It’s kind of open right now. The competition with our own program will hopefully make it better.”
For Central, the night was a chance to reestablish chemistry that existed within the team last year.
Only graduating two seniors last fall, the Indians were able to establish a pace early against Lafayette to build up the lead. Midway through the second period, things shifted directions.
Central went out and finished its night with a 25-17 win over Benton before falling to LeBlond 25-23.
Losing to LeBlond by a last-second shot meant Central went 1-2, and just seconds away from going 3-0.
Coach Cy Musser said both losses came down to 1 to 2 possessions. Benton and LeBlond forced pressure on Central’s office, forcing several turnovers throughout.
“You got to move the ball around,” Musser said.