Cardinals’ big first half ends Knights’ season

Published 1:01 am Wednesday, March 11, 2009

There wasn’t much the Alden-Conger boys’ basketball team could do to slow down Bethlehem Academy Tuesday in their 1A subsection semifinal game at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester.

Chris Palmer and the No. 4-ranked Cardinals were driven to make their way to the next round of the playoffs in a 65-35 victory.

“We just took it in the beginning and they got on a roll and you just couldn’t stop them. Away they went,” Knights head coach Bill Hintz said. “They were on a mission.”

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Palmer was electric and scored 32 points, 27 of which came during the first half, as the Cardinals advanced to the finals of the subsection tournament.

Palmer hit five 3-pointers in the game and collected 11 rebounds en route to a monster game.

The Knights didn’t have an answer for Palmer — few have this season — and got behind early in the game.

“He’s one of the best I’ve seen,” Hintz said. “And he’s so smooth. There’s nothing to it for him.”

Bethlehem Academy (26-2 overall) didn’t seem to miss a shot during the first half and jumped out to a 29-6 lead midway through the first half. The Cardinals finished the game shooting 59 percent from the field.

“They couldn’t miss a thing,” Hintz said. “They got open shots, too. They work hard.”

Alden-Conger (10-17 overall) didn’t have as much success from the field and shot 31 percent in the game. Travis Marth led the Knights with nine points.

“We were flat-footed and just not into it the first half,” Hintz said. “We come out in the second half and played a lot better.”

Alden-Conger turned the ball over 16 times against Bethlehem Academy while the Cardinals committed just six turnovers.

Hintz said playing in the semifinals was a good experience for his team, one they weren’t familiar with before the game.

“This was the first time playing in an arena like this for any of the kids,” Hintz said. “They all kind of walked in that door over there and looked up and ‘Wow.’”

The Knights graduate three seniors from the squad, but bring back eight juniors and one sophomore from the team next season.

“We finished out strong. There’s a lot of games there that I would’ve liked to have gone the other way, but we got up in double figures in wins and we’d like to have more,” Hintz said. “We finished the season stronger than we started it.”

Bethlehem Academy 65, Alden-Conger 35

Alden-Conger 17 18 — 35

Bethlehem Academy 48 17 — 65

Alden-Conger scoring: Travis Marth 9, Jordan Mulso 7, Jon Back 6, Brandon McTague 5, Tyler Adix 4, Brad Ferree 2, Spencer Niebuhr 2.

Bethlehem Academy scoring: Chris Palmer 32, Drew Matthews 13, Jordan Clark 10, Ryan Slattery 5, Kirk Allen 3, Jake Hanson 2.