Chaminade Shrugs Off Beal's Slow Start, Powers To Win Over MICDS
Chaminade keeps perfect season intact.
By his own admission, Chaminade senior Bradley Beal wasn't on his game.
But Thursday night's 69-46 Red Devils nonconference victory at home over MICDS was the perfect example of why basketball is a team game.
Beal pumped in a game-high 28 points, which is four below his average, but the University of Florida-bound recruit knocked in 17 of those points on 26 free throw attempts, which is part of his arsenal–drive hard to the hole and induce contact.
But it was guys like Luke Bumgarner, Tevin Evans, Andy Kleinlein and Brendan Kelly who picked up the pace for their leading scorer.
"I probably had the worst first half I can remember playing in my life," said Beal, who helped the Red Devils remain undefeated at 12-0. "I'm just so fortunate to have great teammates. They really just picked me up and I got it going the second half. As far as the first half, they really stepped up big time."
Chaminade, which has won all 12 games by double digits, relied on a tenacious defense that forced quick turnovers and easy transition points that staked the Red Devils to a 23-5 lead in the opening quarter.
"For us, having one day to prepare for them was an uphill battle," said MICDS coach Matt Hixenbaugh, whose squad fell back below .500 at 5-6. "You can't simulate what they're going to do to you. They jumped all over us and you have to give them credit for that, but our guys really didn't execute well the first quarter.
"I'm proud of our guys for not rolling over. I told them it was like a boxing match where they got knocked down the first round ... they survived the fight and competed the rest of the way."
The Rams were never able to weather the storm.
"CBC's the first team the other night to be in that situation where they had a chance in the second half," said Hixenbaugh, who got a team-high 14 points from Carson Pryor and 10 each from Rashad Lindsay and Thomas Militello. "They're really good. They come out with so much energy in the beginning. Our guys weren't used to it and couldn't respond well to it. Hopefully, that prepares us for the future, which is why we wanted to play this game."
The Rams, who connected on only 13 of 35 field goal attempts, were blitzed in the first quarter by the Red Devils' relentless pursuit of the basketball that ultimately led to a 15-0 run and allowed Chaminade to keep a large lead.
"We've got to speed the game up, make teams go a lot faster than they want to go," Chaminade coach Kelvin Lee said. "When that happens, we dictate the pace of the game.
"It was a quick start, but we couldn't put them away. From the free throw line, we were not good. ... If I have one negative, it was free throw shooting, because the game would have been really over in the first half."
The Red Devils, who host St. Louis University High in a Metro Catholic Conference game at 7 p.m. Friday, were 25 of 41 from the free throw line, got to the line by crashing the offensive glass and continued to be aggressive with dribble penetration.
Beal was at the forefront of the dribble-drives.
"I really wasn't focused into the game, but then the second half, I just tried to tune everything out and play like I know how to play," Beal said.
"He struggled the first half, but he recovered," Lee said of Beal. "He didn't shoot the ball well the first half but he shot it well in the second half. But when Bradley's struggling, we got others to step up. Kelly played a real good game. He figured it out. Giovanni's back. He was sick the last game, and T. Evans, they played hard. That's the whole key to our team."
The Red Devils were 20 of 49 from the floor and got 11 points apiece from Evans and Kleinlein. They continue to knock down those next in line looking to put that blemish on their record.
"We're humble and hungry," Beal said. "We're never complacent. We always want to get better and better every day. Whenever we step on the court, we want to come together as a team and do whatever we've got to do to win."