Two of Section III's most successful programs took center stage when undefeated (3-0) Henninger Black Knights and undefated (3-0) Christian Brothers Academy went at it last Saturday at the Peppino's Classic.
Henninger had ousted the Brothers in convincing fashion in the last three outings. So how would CBA head coach Buddy Wlekinski and his team overcome those losses and shut down an explosive Black Knight attack with a home court advantage?
The answer lies in the excellent defense combined with balanced offensive scorers. The CBA trio of guard Stefan Thompson, forward Greg Thomson, and center Mike Goodman carried their team to a 69-58 victory.
In the first quarter, CBA stormed out to a 16-11 lead. Thompson fueled the Brother's offense with eight points and two assists. Henninger countered with two players who cashed in scoring four points apiece. Kihary Blue connected on a 3-pointer with a hand in his face -- but it was the only 3-pointer the Black Knights put in during the half.
In the second quarter, CBA man-man pressure forced seven Henninger turnovers -- which, combined with poor shooting, created a larger margin.
CBA widened its lead with an 11-2 run. Excellent passing by the backcourt presence of Troy Bullock and Kyle Wise assisted Thomson in scoring multiple times underneath the basket. CBA had a 27-13 lead and were in command of the game.
Henninger committed 10 fouls, sending CBA to the line six times for the remainder of the half. CBA accomplished three major goals. First, they silenced and stunned the intimidating crowd. Second, they shut down Henninger's strong offense and out rebounded them by 13-6. Third, the Brothers had built a 32-19 lead at halftime.
What hampered Henninger on both ends of the court were the three fouls received by forwards Jermaine Taylor James Bardenett. So head coach Erik Saroney instructed his team to play intelligent defense and not be over aggressive getting into foul trouble.