By Ryan Palencer
BROWNSBURG — Behind a game-high 23 points and six rebounds from junior Malik Roper, the Bethesda Christian boys’ basketball team defeated visiting Faith Christian 56-48 Friday night.
“Their effort was unbelievable,” Bethesda Christian coach Justin Cook said. “I can’t give them enough credit. We took a long time off over the Christmas break. It’s been two and a half weeks since we have played. They came out and played with phenomenal energy and gave phenomenal effort. That was what was able to propel us tonight.”
After giving up the first two points of the game, Bethesda (2-5) went on a 12-4 run to close the first quarter, giving them an early lead over the Eagles (1-6).
Faith Christian battled back to tie the game at 18 midway through the second quarter. However, aided by a fast start in the second half, Bethesda went on a 30-4 run to open the game up and give them a 48-22 advantage nearing the end of the third quarter.
“I think that (the run was due) to the great energy,” Cook said. “They committed not only to play with great energy, but they had discipline to go with the energy. It’s not just running around crazy, it’s being disciplined and working your tails off. They also played for each other. I don’t know how many extra passes that we made on the break in transition. We were able to have a lot of transition and it started at the defensive end with that energy.”
Though Faith Christian mounted a comeback late, they were not able to pull any closer than the final deficit of eight.
In addition to Roper, Deonte Gates added 18 points of his own. Cook was pleased with how Roper and Gates facilitated the offense, even outside of themselves.
“I couldn’t be happier with the effort that (Roper and Gates) gave to create shots all night,” Cook said. “I don’t mean just create for themselves, which they are capable of that. They are excellent players, but they showed great determination to create shots for other people as well. When you have your two best players, who are committed to getting other guys shots, that’s when you start to see teams hit on all cylinders, like we did in the third quarter.”
Vernon Ford led the way for the Eagles with 13 points, while Jay Jung and Christian Anderson each chipped in eight.
Cook hopes to see that same energy when the Patriots will look to build on the victory when they battle Indiana Math and Science on Jan. 8.