The La Salle-Peru boys basketball team survived the loss of a pair of starters Friday night to come from behind late in the fourth quarter and capture a 60-58 win over Rochelle at the Cavalier Classic.
In earlier action Friday afternoon, the Cavaliers lost 72-50 to Chatham Glenwood.
La Salle Peru 60, Rochelle 58
The Cavs came up clutch in the closing minutes despite being without the services of two members of their starting lineup.
“We’re a team and that’s how we’re going to play. It was a big loss, obviously, but we knew we had to come through and play as a team. We were able to do that and got the job done,” L-P junior guard Noah Lamboley said.
For the first three and half quarters, Rochelle could not stop L-P standout Jens Soderholm as the senior forward lit up the scoreboard for 21 points.
It turns out, Soderholm stopped himself after he was called for a charge with 4:32 left in the game for his fourth foul and had to retire to the bench after his subsequent protests drew a technical foul for his fifth whistle with L-P leading 51-49.
His exit made him the second L-P starter to depart the contest after Bret Storm left the game early with a shoulder injury sustained after a tumble to the hardwood on a layup attempt.
Rochelle managed to take its first lead of the second half at 56-55 with 1:41 to play on a pair of free throws from senior guard Matt Rosenwinkel that capped off a six-shot possession from the Hubs.
L-P senior forward Jon VonBehren answered back on the ensuing possession with a short one-handed basket off a spinning post move in the lane to give the Cavs a 57-56 lead, but Rochelle responded with a putback bucket from Brendan O’Rorke with 20 seconds left.
Lamboley put the Cavs back on top for good on a pair of free throws with 14.3 seconds remaining and added an insurance point from the charity stripe after fellow senior Cameron Hight snagged a steal of the follow-up Hub inbounds pass to give L-P its 60-58 margin of victory.
“We really practice those (late game) situations quite a bit so it’s nothing new to our kids,” L-P coach Jim Cherveny said. “It’s just being able to execute it at this point and they did tonight. I’m really, really proud of the five guys there that played the last several minutes — through all the fatigue and a lot of effort. It was fun to watch them finish the game.
“Jon Von (VonBehren) is ready to go because he had to sit out the other day with a sprained ankle — he’s been chomping at the bit. … Cam Hight had a big steal there — he’s just a smart player — and Noah Lamboley knocked down some big free throws. It’s exciting to see those guys play well and I expect good things from them.”
Soderholm led all scorers with 21 points. Lamboley finished with 16 and VonBehren added 10 points and a team-best 10 rebounds for L-P (2-1).
Rosenwinkel led Rochelle with 26 points, including four 3-pointers.
Rochelle led 14-12 after the first quarter, but L-P responded to tie things up a 25-25 at intermission. The Cavs went up five, 44-39, after three quarters and extended the lead to seven points early in the fourth quarter.
Chatham-Glenwood 72, L-P 50
The Titans raced out to a led 29-9 after the first quarter and 48-31 at half and never looked back en route to the win over the Cavs in Friday’s opener.
Glenwood guard Peyton Allen had a big role in the early Titan advantage with six first-half 3-pointers. He finished leading all scorers with 32 points — 30 of which came in the first half.
Soderholm led L-P with 18 points.
La Salle-Peru wraps up play in the Cavalier Classic at 1:30 p.m. today against Dunlap.
Chris Yucus can be reached at 220-6995 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsChris.