Brother Martin might have come away with a 51-48 win at Bonnabel on Tuesday night, but coach Chris Biehl said his team still has things to master.
“Let’s be honest, we have a lot to work on,” Biehl said. “We’re very inexperienced. The inexperience showed up tonight.”
Leading the Crusaders (2-0) were Drew Lewis with 16 points and Jordan Cornish with 11.
The Bruins were led by Jatwind Payton’s 16 and Christian Canales’s nine.
“We want the defense to be our bread and butter,” Biehl said. “We felt like if we kept playing defense and work, work, work, that good things happen.”
The Bruins wasted no time getting their first basket, when Payton scored 11 seconds into the game, but both teams were sluggish after.
The Crusaders didn’t score their first points until a Cornish layup at the 5:15 mark of the first quarter.
Payton finished the first half with nine points. No Crusader had more than one field goal. Brother Martin hit 5 of 11 from the free- throw line in the opening half.
At the end of the half, Bonnabel led 23-16 and by the 2:42 mark of the third quarter, the Bruins took a 35-28 lead on a Dante Cordier basket.
But the Crusaders when on a 10-0 run and took the lead when Jordan Cornish scored on a fastbreak layup later in the quarter for a 38-35 advantage.
“Everybody’s going to look at the last four minutes,” Biehl said. “I think we made a real good run in the third quarter. The run was started because of the defense.”
Brother Martin went up 43-37 when Venjie Wallis drove to the basket and scored at the 5:36 mark of the fourth. Bonnabel came back on a Payton three-point play to cut the deficit to 43-40.
Canales scored with 5:03 left to cut the Crusaders’ lead to 43-42.
Cornish then stole the ball and dunked it with 4:23 left to put the Bruins up 45-42. Another Cornish basket put the Crusaders up 47-42.
Cornish scored Brother Martin’s final points when he made two free throws.
“We had a bad shooting night, and I think that’s a credit to Bonnabel and their defense,” Biehl said. “I think our boys need to learn that sometimes when the shots aren’t falling, you need to create points other ways.”
Brother Martin made 12 of 23 free throws. The Bruins made 8 of 12 free throws.
Bonnabel coach Glenn Dyer declined comment.