Slow the game down, squeeze the ball tight and strangle the clock.
Those seem to be the preferred strategies for the Bruning-Davenport-Shickley Eagles.
The Eagles found a way to get a lead late and then hung on with a patient offensive approach that ended with free throw conversions and a 50-42 advantage on the final scoreboard in the district final at Crete High School.
Let’s just say this isn’t the first time that the Knights have seen this strategy and it might not be the last time they see it this season.
Both teams will play in the state tourney, which begins on March 9.
Until state, the Knights will be thinking about ways to stall a team that just wants to stall.
BDS used the strategy to beat the Lourdes twice last season, once in the regular season and once in the district final.
Like last year’s district final loss, the Tuesday night result won’t mean the end of the season for the Lourdes squad since the Knights will make it to the state tournament as a wild card entrant.
Lourdes doesn’t like this way to the state tournament. Although a great season of basketball gave them the necessary wild card points, the Knights would have preferred a win on Tuesday and the automatic bid that goes with it. Coach Joe Tynon said his team wanted to pay back BDS for losses last season and even prior to that.
It didn’t happen. Lourdes can be upset about it. That’s allowed. But self pity can’t last long.
“We’ve got nine days and we can prepare ourselves for the state tournament,” said Tynon.
It worked for Lourdes last year, as the team advanced to the state final while BDS fell short of reaching the title game. And Lourdes ended up collecting a bigger prize with a state final win over Walthill.

Game Action
Turning to the action from Tuesday night, Lourdes got the game’s first basket on a three-point shot by Thomas Ragland and the game quickly turned into a contest of runs with both teams enjoying the momentum at different times.
BDS ran off six straight to lead 6-3, but Lourdes rallied back and Hayden Miller’s two-point bucket gave the Knights a 12-8 lead before BDS hit a three to trail by one at the end of the first quarter.
Ben Miller didn’t score in the first quarter but did a nice job of setting up a pair of scores by slowing it down in transition situations. He didn’t force the ball and, as a result, got the ball to Hayden directly for a bucket on one trip. On the next transition, he slowed it down, the Knights set up their offense and got another bucket.
Ben had a great save on a ball going out of bounds during action in the second quarter. That save extended a Knight offensive possession and Quinten Vasa scored to make it 17-14 in favor of Lourdes.
BDS would run off three straight buckets to lead 20-17 before Brandon Fredrichs answered for Lourdes to make it 20-19.
Back-to-back transition buckets for BDS preceded a Hayden three-ball and Lourdes was down 24-22 at the half.
BDS scored eight of the first 10 points of the third quarter. Hayden engineered the only break in that offensive by finding Vasa with an assist. Vasa would later hit another bucket, Colter Fulton hit a three-pointer and Hayden went 4-of-4 at the free throw line.
It was 35-33 in favor of BDS at the end of three quarters.
Hayden dribble penetrated and got the ball to Brock Hogeland early in the fourth frame for a conventional three-point play that put Lourdes ahead 36-35.
BDS answered with a three-point shot and would never trail again.
As time wore down in the fourth quarter, the Eagles would work for long offensive possessions and then hit from the free throw line.
Makes on 7-of-8 tries from the charity stripe gave the Eagles a 45-38 point lead.
The final was 50-42.
Looking at the leading scorers from the game, Caden Norder led BDS with 22 points. Hayden had 19 points for Lourdes. Other Knight scorers were Vasa, 10; Hogeland, four; Ragland, three; Fulton, three; and Fredrichs, three.

Delay of game
The patience shown by the Eagles was difference making according to the Knights’ head coach. Credit BDS, they have a game plan and they stick with it.
“It doesn’t matter if you play man or you play zone, they are going to be patient and get the shot they want,” said Tynon. “That was the difference between us and them. They were patient. We weren’t.”
In terms of offensive deficits, Coach Tynon said the Knights didn’t get much scoring from around the paint. Part of that is due to the defensive effort by BDS. Part of it was a lack of determination by the Lourdes team.
“I think there will still opportunities for us. We just didn’t take advantage,” said Tynon. “Those are the things that we need to work on going forward is getting paint touches.”
Defensively, Coach Tynon said the Knights could have disrupted the Eagles’ offense by taking the ball. And he feels they were close to doing that at different times.
“We had some opportunities to get some steals and some turnovers and we were a little late on some rotations or deflections  where we didn’t sell out enough to get them,” said Tynon.