PERU – On a night where it honored seniors London Cabrera, Tommy Hartman and Maalik Madrigal, the La Salle-Peru boys basketball team earned a hard-fought 55-48 victory over crosstown rival St. Bede.
“It was a typical L-P versus St. Bede game, back and forth and very competitive,” L-P coach Jim Cherveny said. “The atmosphere was incredible as usual and both teams played hard. We also went though some adversity tonight when Josh [Senica] went down [with a sprained ankle], but other guys stepped up and filled roles that will definitely help us down the line as guys gained both experience and confidence.”
St. Bede senior Landon Jackson was pleased with the Bruins’ effort.
“It is a rivalry but a fun one as we know each other really well, and you want the bragging rights but I was proud of the way we played tonight,” Jackson said. “They are a good team. There was a lot of energy in the building and we got down early but continued to work hard. Even though we didn’t get the win, we got better and gained this experience, which will make us better the rest of the season.”
The Bruins struck first when Callan Hueneburg scored the first of his game-high 16 points with a 3-pointer from the corner before Madrigal and St. Bede’s John Brady exchanged layups to make the score 5-2 Bruins.
The Cavaliers got things going as Senica and Seth Adams, who had a team-high 10 points, combined for the next seven points to give L-P a 9-5 lead.
Hueneburg canned another 3 to bring the Bruins closer, but L-P responded in a big way and reeled off 10 straight points with Cabrera and Senica doing most of the damage.
The Bruins got a couple of baskets from Connor Brown, but Adams buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the hosts a 24-12 lead after one period.
The second quarter saw the Bruins claw their way back as Hueneburg hit a pair of 3s and Isaiah Hart (14 points) started to heat up with six points to help St. Bede tie it at 26-all with 1:35 left in the half.
The Cavs again finished the period strong with a Jack Jereb jumper and a Cabrera layup to take a 30-26 lead into the half.
The third period began with the L-P seniors Hartman and Cabrera tallying hoops to build the Cavalier advantage to 34-26.
The teams traded baskets before L-P big man Senica tumbled to the floor and turned his ankle at the 5:32 mark of the third quarter.
The Bruins quickly closed the gap with a pair of Hueneburg 3s and a Hart layup before L-P righted the ship as Adams scored the next six points.
Nicholas Olivero came off L-P’s bench to provide a spark with the final five points of the quarter, and L-P led 46-39 after three.
The Cavs extended their lead in the fourth on Madrigal and Olivero (nine points) layups to make the score 50-39.
“This is a big game,” Adams said. “A group of us that played together in grade school still hang around – the Bimas [Sam and Joe] and Evan [Entrican] on their side, and Josh, Brendan [Boudreau], Bobby [Baldin] and me [on ours]. Believe me, there is a lot of talking, and it feels great to have the bragging rights for another year. It’s a lot of fun to play against guys you know. ... It’s a great time.”
The Bruins once again battled back with a pair of Brady free throws and a Hart field goal to get the lead down to seven points, but that is as close as they got as the teams traded points the rest of the way.
“We got down early, and to be honest, earlier in the year we may have given up and hung our heads,” St. Bede coach Brian Hanson said. “But tonight they continued to fight and we brought it all the way back to even the score. We had a flat spot there at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth and that ended up being the difference, but I have to be happy and proud of the effort. I know its cliché when you lose a game like this to say, but this kind of game and atmosphere will make us better in the postseason. It was a great crowd on both sides that were really into the game and L-P is a good team.”