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Bishop Dwenger brings defensive intensity to snap skid

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Saints ride defense, Eifert to impressive road win at Carroll

Thursday, January 23, 2014 - 1:41 am

Bishop Dwenger boys basketball coach Matt Kostoff said his team's recent four-game losing streak was the result of not playing tough defense.

The Saints solved that problem Wednesday by bringing more pressure on Carroll and holding the host Chargers to 33 percent shooting (15 for 45) to snap their losing skid with a 53-37 win.

“We'd been giving up about 60-70 points per game the last four games,” Kostoff said. “That's not us. We like to keep teams in the low 50s.”

In the Saints' (6-4) recent losing streak, teams scored at least 65 points. With Carroll (7-6) also playing a slow-tempo pace Bishop Dwenger was able to play its own pace.

That pace helped senior forward Grady Eifert, who scored a game-high 22 points.

To end the losing streak, he knew he needed to have a big game.

“I just felt I needed to step up and help the team,” Eifert said. “We needed to get off to a early start. My teammates helped me out to do that.”

Eifert scored 14 second-half points to help the Bishop Dwenger turn the game into a rout. Junior guard Marcus Stepp added 10 points for the visitors.

Carroll's shooting didn't help itself against Bishop Dwenger's defense either. The team shot a miserable 29 percent (4 for 14) from the foul line and missed its first seven foul shots before junior guard Chandler White ended the slump.

White also struggled from the field. The junior shot 8 for 22 from the field and just 2 for 11 from three-point range. He missed his first seven attempts from beyond the arc before finally hitting one in the third quarter.

Bishop Dwenger fared better from the field, shooting 47 percent (16 for 34) and 63 percent (17 for 24) from the foul line.

The loss extends the Chargers' losing streak to three games, and they are 1-3 since winning last month's Carroll Shootout. The loss left Carroll coach Marty Beasley frustrated, and he said his team couldn't take advantage of opportunities.

“It's a lack of mental toughness,” Beasley said. “I thought we had a lot of opportunities early on. They were in foul trouble; we got into the double bonus fast. And then we start the second half by missing three layups.”

White led Carroll with 19 points, more than half of the team's scoring output. Juniors Jeremy Kalonji and Jeffrey Kalonji scored just five and four points, respectively. Sophomore Kyle Mallers was held to one point.

“We're just not mentally tough enough to do it,” Beasley said. “You got to have five guys on the floor ticking at the same time.”

The win is Bishop Dwenger's first since Dec. 26 and could give the team a boost heading into its last three conference games with Northrop, Snider and North Side remaining.

“It gives us our confidence back,” Eifert said. “But we can't be too high. It was a great win, but we play a good Northrop team on Friday. We're just going to get back tomorrow and work hard.”