La Salle-Peru boys basketball coach Jim Cherveny knows there’s nothing free about free throws, which is why the third-year Cavalier coach spends so much time working on them in practice.
“We put a lot of time into free throws because games are won and lost on free throws,” Cherveny said.
On Wednesday against rival St. Bede, the Cavs benefited from all the practice.
After L-P shot just four free throws in the first three quarters, the Cavs took over the game from the line in the fourth quarter as L-P went 17-for-23 from the foul line in the fourth to rally for a 52-40 victory.
“Every chance we get in practice we’re shooting free throws,” L-P senior Noah Lamboley said. “There’s not a break in practice where after we get a drink that we’re not going back and shooting free throws. We’re expected to make free throws.”
The Cavs finished the game 20-for-27 from the foul line, while St. Bede went just 8-for-11.
“I thought we did a nice a job of continuing to attack the hoop,” Cherveny said. “At timeouts and at halftime, we kept saying to keep attacking and as a result, before we knew it, we were in the bonus and then the double bonus. For the last 2 1/2-3 minutes of the game, we’re shooting double-bonus free throws every time. That’s big, especially when you’re making them. Making the 17 free throws is a big credit to our kids.”
The free throws helped L-P complete its comeback.
St. Bede took control of the game at the end of the first half and sophomore Jarret Olson helped the Bruins keep the advantage through three quarters as SBA took a 34-27 lead into the final eight minutes.
However, L-P awoke to start the fourth quarter as it opened the period on a 10-0 run to take a 37-34 lead with 4:40 left.
The Cavs then put away the game by making their free throws.
“This is a hometown rivalry and nobody wants to lose,” said Lamboley, who returned Wednesday after he missed the past two games with a left ankle injury. “We look forward to this game. It’s always a good battle and good competition. Both teams came out and played hard, but we were just able to get the job done.”
After taking the seven-point lead after three quarters, St. Bede opened the fourth quarter with a 3:47 scoreless drought and scored only six points in the frame, including just four points in the quarter’s first 7:49.
After Olson scored 11 points in the third quarter, he managed just two in the fourth quarter, and SBA was outscored 25-6 in the fourth.
“We played a game (Tuesday) night and they did not, so I think we lost our legs,” SBA coach Mike Kilmartin said. “We had a tough game at Orion where we had to come back twice and got home at 10:30 p.m. We just couldn’t shoot, and they got into the bonus.”
Lamboley finished with a game-high 20 points for L-P (9-11), while sophomore Brady Huebbe added 10 points. Seniors Kaleb Jakse and Devin Stoker both grabbed a team-high six rebounds.
Olson finished with a game-high 20 points for SBA (13-11), while junior Sam Halm grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds.
Notes: L-P swept the night as it won all four games. In the sophomore game, the Cavs prevailed 64-43 behind 17 points from Isaiah Tubbs. Jon Dose led SBA with 14 points. L-P won the freshman A contest 70-35 and the freshman B game 31-19. … The Rosploch family and Rally for Lilly thanked L-P before the game for its support. The family also received gifts from L-P and gave a gift to Jen Riva, the founder and organizer of the Rally for Lilly campaign.
Jared Bell can be reached at 220-6938, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.