High-scoring or low, fast tempo or slow, the Bishop Ludden boys basketball has proven, in a few short weeks, that it can handle any situation thrown at them - and still come out on top.
In a battle for first place in the OHSL Liberty division Wednesday night, the Gaelic Knights knocked off previously unbeaten Bishop Grimes 56-54, improving its record to 5-0 in front of a packed home crowd in Geddes.
"What we're finding out is that we can win many different ways," said head coach Pat Donnelly.
The way on this night involved freshman forward Dan Kaigler picking up 17 points and Kelly Beaudoin adding 16 points, including the pair of free throws with 12.8 seconds left that ended up making the difference on the scoreboard.
It also involved containing Grimes' 1,000-point senior star, Mike Stone, in the second half. Though Stone led both sides with 19 points, he only made a single 3-pointer after the break and fouled out in the closing minutes, unable to help the Cobras in its late comeback attempt.
Stone had taken over in the game's opening minute, hitting a baseline jumper off the glass, sinking another jump shot after a nifty crossover dribble and, to cap it off, making a steal and lay-up to make it 6-0 before Ludden even got a point.
Within two minutes, though, Ludden was out in front thanks to its own 7-0 run, and Kaigler powered them through the rest of the first half, getting 11 points on everything from drives to the basket to a pulled-up 3-pointer. That helped the Gaelic Knights take a 28-23 lead to the break.
At this point, Stone had 16 points. Donnelly said that his team aimed to limit Stone's possessions, and while that worked in the third quarter, Grimes still used baskets from Gai Ater and Connor Sohl to inch ahead, 36-35, late in the period. Worse yet, Casey Ganley was on the bench with four fouls, so someone else had to step up.