Randy Speer, The Circuit
A 19-5 run in the final five minutes of the first half gave Benedictine enough cushion to get past Grand View for 84-70 win.
The lead see-sawed between the Ravens and the Vikings for the first 15 minutes before Benedictine (11-4, 5-4 Heart) was able to break it open.
“The biggest thing, I thought was we started to push,” head coach Ryan Moody said. “They were heavy-legged toward the end of the half and we got a few run outs.”
The run outs lead to Grand View constricting their zone defense, creating open looks for the Raven sharpshooters. Seniors John Harris Jr and Shawn Fleming Jr., as well as junior Austin Eckert all knocked in a 3-pointer during the closing 19-5 run.
The Ravens never trailed after taking a 28-26 lead to start the run, and headed into the locker room up 45-31.
One of the keys to maintaining the run was limiting the Vikings (8-8, 2-7) in transition.
“Their biggest offense came at the rim in transition and then 15-18 feet jump shots,” Moody said.
He added that coming into the game, transition defense was one of the team’s main focuses.
“I thought we did a really good job of getting back at times and then give up two or three possessions of getting to the rim,” Moody said.
The second half featured the same back and forth basketball that was played during the opening 15 minutes, but with a commanding 14 point lead coming out of the break, Grand View could not bring themselves back into the game.
Junior Justas Norvilas came off the bench in the second half and added 10 of his 12 points. Norvillas, along with Eckert and junior Connor Fleming racked up 33 of the 37 bench points for the Ravens.
Fleming finished with 15 points in just his fourth game back after sitting out most of the first half of the season with an injury.
“I thought the guys off the bench came in and did a great job,” Moody said. “The third game in fives days, about to go four (games) in seven (days), we need that.”
Harris Jr. added the finishing touch to his 16 point, five assist night with an alley-op from junior C.J. Vallejo with 37 second left.
The Ravens have won five of their last six games, with their only loss coming against Avila on the road 90-77.
“We are on the incline right now so we are figuring things out, which is good for our young guys” Harris said.
Up next for the Benedictine is No. 6 William Penn at 4 p.m. January 14 at home. The Statesmen enter the contest averaging 95.3 points per game, fifth best nationally, while the Ravens come in limiting the opposition to 69 points per game, 17th best nationally.