The high-flying Minneapolis boy’s basketball team continued its high-scoring ways on Tuesday night with a 70-35 win over county rival, Bennington in the first game of the Tri-County Classic.
Bennington came out ready to protect its home floor however. After the Bulldogs got down 7-0 right off of the bat, Bennington answered with a 7-0 run of its own after Tyler Stanley banked in a 3-point shot to tie things up early in the first quarter.
That was the last the Bulldogs would challenge the Lions as Minneapolis, led by Nolan White early, pulled away in the first quarter on a 13-2 run to take a 20-9 lead in to the second stanza.
The Lions and White weren’t done, though. White would pour in all 13 of his points in the first half as the Lions’ junior guard was unconscious from 15 feet, hitting multiple jumpers.
As in the first game in its win over Russell, Minneapolis’ defense continued to cause havoc. Bennington struggled to diagnose the trapping full-count press of Minneapolis all night. Even when the Bulldogs were able to get in to the front court, the long arms and speed of the Lions created several turnovers, which in turn, led to easy Minneapolis baskets.
The Lions led Bennington 43-23 going in to halftime.
After allowing 71 points in the first game against Russell, Minneapolis strapped down defensively on Tuesday night as the Lions held Bennington to just 12 second half points. The length and speed of the Lions wore down the thin bench of Bennington.
Bennington (1-1, 0-0 HOA) had just one scorer in double-figures as Stanley led the way with 10 points.
Minneapolis (2-0, 1-0 NCAA) took its first step to a Tri-County Classic championship with a win. The Lions once again had four scorers in double-figures. Kaden Griffin had his second-straight game of 20 points or more as the senior finished with 20. White scored 13, Spencer Davidson added in 12 points and Jonah Ausherman tacked on 10.
The Lions play its first home game of the year on Thursday in the second round of the TCC with Ell-Saline. Meanwhile, Bennington travels to Halstead.
Bennington Girls 36, Minneapolis 18
Bennington used its speed and length on defense to really pester the Minneapolis Lady Lions on Tuesday night.
In the first round of the Tri-County Classic, Bennington never trailed as the Bulldogs used its defense to hold Minneapolis to just two first half points–both coming off of separate free-throw makes.
However, the Minneapolis defense hung tough as Bennington led just 16-2 at halftime.
The third quarter was an ugly offensive display to start. Neither team could find the bottom of the bucket to start the quarter. Both teams were scoreless in the period when Bennington’s Kyla Kind finally opened up the flood gates in the period in the final minute-in-a-half with a 3-pointer.
Minneapolis would answer immediately with its first bucket of the game nearly 24 full minutes in to the game. However, Bennington would end the quarter on fire taking a 22-4 lead.
Both teams finally heated up in the final quarter, scoring 14 points, each, but it was too late for Minneapolis as the Lady Lions never trimmed the deficit to within 15.
Bennington (2-0, 0-0 HOA) forced over 25 Minneapolis turnovers on Tuesday night. Kind led the way with 15 points, the only Bulldog in double-figures.
Minneapolis (0-2, 0-1 NCAA) had no one in double-figures. Paeton Smith scored seven points in the tournament loss.
Coming up next, both Bennington teams travel on the road for the first time as they pay Halstead a visit on Thursday. The girl’s game looks to be a big one as both teams are 1-0 in the TCC after Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, Minneapolis entertains Ell-Saline in its first home game of the year on Thursday. Live coverage of the Lions and Cardinals will be simul-cast on two Salina radio stations: 92.7 The New Zoo and FM 104.9. Coverage begins at 5:45 p.m.