By Ryan Palencer
BROWNSBURG — Despite 22 points from senior Malik Roper, the Bethesda Christian boy’s basketball team fell to visiting Horizon Christian 73-53 Friday night.
“When we discipline our minds to do what we know we ought to do, we can be successful,” Bethesda Christian coach Justin Cook said. “Tonight, that was displayed that we need to value every possession and to value every pass. We didn’t value every pass very well, but when we did value every pass, we did well. When you value every single shot, every single contest of a shot, and every single check out and rebound, when we are disciplined to do those things, we see that we can do good things. I think that is the positive take away from this.”
After falling behind 5-2 early, the Patriots (2-10) went on a 14-2 run midway through the first quarter. Cook was pleased with the play, but knows that his team has a psychological hurdle to overcome in the long run.
“Although we have had limited success on the scoreboard this season, we still struggle to deal with success,” Cook said. “I think that coach (Pete) Smith, at Guerin Catholic said that a couple of years ago and he couldn’t be more on the money. Human nature is that when anything starts to go right, you tend to relax and right now, we are struggling to stay disciplined, whether things go poorly or things go well. That’s a challenge that we need to conquer.”
Playing into that philosophy, the Lions (15-4) closed the quarter on a 12-0 run and took the lead back at the end of the first.
After a pretty evenly played second quarter, Horizon Christian claimed a 29-26 lead at halftime.
The Lions came out hot in the second half and cruised to the 20-point victory.
Along with Roper’s effort, Deonte Gates added eight points, while Aaron Hampton and Patrick McCurry each chipped in six.
In addition to his progress on the court, Cook is pleased with Roper’s progression off it as well.
“I thought (Roper) did a pretty good job,” Cook said. “He’s still learning. Even in the last week, he’s made some good strides in being more coachable. That’s a great point to see, even from a non-basketball standpoint, to see a young man grow to be a Godly man, to go on from this place and live a good life. I see maturity there and he’s making strides.”
John Orander led the way for the Lions with a game-high 30 points, while Noah Oetjen scored 17 and Dante Butler chipped in 11 for Horizon.
Bethesda Christian will look to rebound for the loss when they host Eminence tonight.