PERU — The bleachers emptied Tuesday night as St. Bede took down LaSalle-Peru 76-69 in a contentious bout. The boxscore in no way represents how hard fought this game was.
The game featured a number of players who lit the scoreboard up. St. Bede’s Joey Pyszka led the Bruins with 26 points with teammate Damin Smith posting 22 points.
The Cavaliers’ Jens Soderholm was the game’s best offensive performer with 29 points followed by fellow shooter Noah Lamboloy’s 23-point outing.
“We really came out to play,” St. Bede coach Mike Kilmartin said. We’ve got all seniors, almost, and it’s the last time they’re going to play them. The big thing was that they had no answer for Joey Pyszka, early.”
Doing well early gave the Bruins the window they needed to win the game. Pyszka and Smith went off in the first quarter combining for 17 points. That gave them a 29-16 lead going into the second quarter. In the second quarter the Cavaliers tried to fight back, but the Bruin’s kept answering them emphatically.
At the end of the half the Bruins (20-5) were up 43-33.
In the third quarter, fortunes turned a bit as the Cavaliers found a way to outpace the Bruins scoring 17 points to their 14. Three pointers and overall great play from Soderholm and Camboloy kept the Cavaliers in the hunt. At the end of three it was 51-49 with St. Bede trying to hold on.
In the fourth quarter things got testy. St. Bede’s Sam Lucas joined the party sinking an early three. Before you could blink, the Bruins were back ahead by 10 points with 5:22 left in the game. Despite that effort, Lasalle-Peru managed to shoot its deficit down from 10 points to two points. With 3:05 left in the game it was 64-62 Bruins.
Then, a Cavalier player decided to lash out at an official and the team was issued a double technical foul. Lucas and Brad Groleau took the shots. Then Groleau converted a turnover putting the Bruins lead back to four. Soderholm answered by dropping a layup in seconds later.
With less than a minute to go, Lamboloy hit another one from downtown putting the Cavaliers within three points of the Bruins. They failed to convert at the free-throw line giving St. Bede another scoring opportunity. That’s when the Bruin’s Grant Bosnich hit two from the charity stripe to give his team a seemingly comfortable five-point (71-66) lead with around 25 seconds left on the clock.
Another Cavalier decided to knock down a three-pointer. With 17.2 seconds left in the game, the Bruins once mighty lead was back down to two points (71-69). That’s when the Cavaliers decided to press and the Bruins broke it to put the game away.
Kilmartin said he’d love to bottle up the Bruins’ homecourt magic.
“It is so much different playing at home. I mean, we’ve done that to just about every team we have played here. It’s the friendly confines. It’s very difficult at the end of the year to go on the road. You can be better, but it’s still very difficult.”
Notes: On a strange side note the referees also ejected St. Bede Superintendent Ted Struck in the final seconds of the game. St. Bede recognized WLPO’s Lanny Slevin, who is retiring after broadcasting games for 40 years. ... L-P won the sophomore game 52-51 on a last-second shot. Jarret Olson led the Bruins with 18 points.