By Will Willems
---- — Friday night's Sagamore Conference match-up between Lebanon and Tri-West wasn't the prettiest game ever played on the hardwood.
But that doesn't matter to the Bruins or head coach Adam Bontreger. The Bruins jumped out to an eight-point lead in the first quarter and never let Lebanon back in the game in a 45-34 game.
"I think it was a big win for us as a team," Bontreger said. "It is always hard to beat Lebanon at their place. We knew it was going to be a hard-fought battle and the way Lebanon has been playing defense, we knew that it was going to be a defensive battle. I thought our guys did an exceptional job on the defensive end, that is something we worked on a lot this week and to hold them to 34 points, you are going to have a great chance to win."
Lebanon head coach Alber Hendrix said nothing was working for the Tigers, who fell to 4-6 and 2-3 in the Sagamore Conference.
"We didn't shoot well and we didn't defend well," Lebanon head coach Albert Hendrix said. "We only gave up 45 points and I think that is probably the worst defense we have played all year. We turned it over 19 times and we have played well the last four or five games, and I think tonight, there isn't an excuse, but we didn't play well. We have to come back tomorrow, get in the gym and figure out how to get things done."
The score was tied at 6 with 3:03 left in the first quarter, before a 9-1 run by the Bruins gave the visitors a 15-7 lead at the end of a quarter.
Lebanon got within seven on two occasions in the second quarter, but every chance they had at getting any closer was squandered with turnovers.
The Tigers had 19 turnovers in the game which led to 22 Bruin points. On the other side, the Bruins had 14 turnovers, but Lebanon could only get six points off turnovers.
"Our game plan coming in was that we wanted to pressure them," Bontreger said. "We knew they had a lot of young kids and inexperienced players. We felt like we had an advantage with our guards just because we had more experience. We wanted to defend hard on their guards and I thought we did a great job of getting in passing lanes early and creating some steal opportunity then making our lay-ups or pull-up jumpers on our counter attack. That was the key to us building the lead early."
For more of this story, read Saturday's Lebanon Reporter.