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December 22, 2012
Benedictine College Prep stayed undefeated on Friday night, improving its record to 10-0 overall with its second head-to-head win this season of the St. Christopher's Saints, 76-52 in the semifinals of the 18th Annual Times-Dispatch Invitational Tournament at Randolph-Macon.
The Cadets trailed by four midway through the opening quarter before closing the period strong to take an 18-16 lead into the second quarter. St. Chris controlled the tempo and stayed close thanks to their efficient shooting, 10-of-18 from the field in the first half. But Benedictine still led, 36-29 at the break and knew they were only one surge away from putting the Saints away.
"We came out in the first half slow with not a lot of energy or discipline. In the locker room, the coaches said we've got to talk, play disciplined and get back on D' with better energy and intensity. We were able to get them to turn the ball over and put up a big lead," said Benedictine's Raymon Minor, a two-sport athlete that also excels in football.
Minor, a 6-foot-3 junior swingman who transferred from Patrick Henry-Ashland and re-classified, had 11 points in the first half. He finished with 20 points, sharing game-high honors with Rodney Williams, the 6-foot-8 forward for St. Christopher's signed to play his College Basketball at Drexel.
Interestingly enough, Minor did his work coming off the pine, shooting 8-of-11 from the field and 3-for-5 from there-point land.
"We've got like seven or eight guys on our team that are D-1 type players. Some nights, I'm coming off the bench and I kind of like coming off the bench and being the sixth man," said Minor, getting used to his new school.
"It's different with the military life, no girls and I stay focused. I get my schoolwork, am around good coaches for football and basketball, and I'm learning more about the game."
Robert Johnson, a 6-foot-2 junior guard that transferred to Benedictine from L.C. Bird, scored 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting to go with seven rebounds and three steals. Also scoring in double-figures was 6-foot-7 forward Khris Lane, who had been under the weather this week.
Nick Gorski and Nick Coppola, a couple of players that transferred to Benedictine from Cosby before last season, gave Benedictine a lift as well. Gorski scored eight points and Coppola was steady at the point, handing out nine assists. L.G. Gill, a 6-foot-6 senior, chipped in eight points.
One major difference for Benedictine was its defensive intensity in the second half. In the first half, freshman Nick Sherod of St. Chris scored 12 points. The Cadets held him scoreless over the final two quarters. Benedictine also scored 32 points off 19 turnovers by St. Chris.
"It's all about playing defense and coming out with the right energy. We all want to become elite players and get better every day in practice and the games," commented Minor.
Minor has seen his recruiting interest pick up considerably, but he's still not sure which sport he will play at the next level.
"I don't know yet," Minor said. "I've talked to Western Kentucky for basketball. I'll be going there in the spring. I've got a visit with West Virginia in February for football and UNC for football, too. I've talked to UVA, Virginia Tech and VCU for basketball, and Georgia is real hard on me."
Next up for Benedictine is Henrico, another unbeaten who topped John Marshall 84-66 in the other semifinal. The winner grabs bragging rights in the city.
"We just came from D.C. and won a tournament there. We're trying to get another one and we're undefeated right now," Minor said. 'We have to show Richmond what we're about by winning this Championship."
Matthew Hatfield serves as State Basketball Analyst for VirginiaPreps.com, part of the Rivals.com Network. Check out Hatfield's Twitter page for more sports related info and updates. To contact Matthew, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, and don't forget to listen to him on High School Sports Talk from 10AM to Noon every Saturday on ESPN Radio 94.1, plus watch him on the Cox 11 Sports Report.
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