St. Benedict’s too much for ANC in opener

BRYN ATHYN >> In terms of first opponents, there aren’t too many tougher than St. Benedict’s Prep.

But Academy of the New Church coach Kevin Givens has comparable talent on his roster, he was just playing with odds stacked against him. Not only are ANC’s top three players all sophomores, but the Lions had their two main subs sitting on the bench in street clothes with injury.

The result was a 72-46 win for St. Benedict’s Tuesday evening at Asplundh Field House, led by former Archbishop Carroll guard David Beaty, who poured in 27 points.

“Playing a national powerhouse like that is tough, we have a young group of kids,” Givens said. “We didn’t have any subs and we normally go seven to eight deep. I have to find a way to get these kids a blow and get them off their feet for a little bit.”

Sophomore Matthue Cotton led ANC with 22 points, 11 of those coming in the third quarter. Cotton, along with big man Marcus Littles and guard Justin Anderson, all sophomores, are already drawing significant college interest.

Clearly, their talent is there. What isn’t there is yet is the mentality to thrive at the varsity level against a team with the same kind of skill. Givens felt like his team didn’t have enough toughness against the Grey Bees and it showed in the rebounding margin and in ANC’s 19 turnovers.

St. Benedict’s led wire-to-wire, thanks in part to its defense, rebounding and outside shooting. The Bees led 17-11 after one, then broke the game open thanks to Beaty in the second quarter.

The guard erupted for four 3s in the second quarter and hit six for the game but his highlight play was a driving dunk in the third quarter.

“I have to teach them how to fight through adversity,” Givens said. “They don’t know how to do that yet. We have good, skilled players out there but they don’t know how to fight, how to grind it out yet. They just don’t know how to win.”

Givens said he has guys that can score. He needs to find guys who can and who want to rebound and defend. Getting healthy would be nice too as the Lions had to bring up Matt Wasco from JV just to give the starters a few minutes of rest.

St. Benedict’s took a 46-22 lead into the half and seemingly every time ANC scored or got a stop, the Bees had some sort of answer.

Injuries hindered ANC early last season as well but at least this year, they haven’t hit the guys the Lions will be relying on. Still, it’s hard to ask players at any level to play an entire game and Givens knows he’ll have to figure something out.

Cotton was great in the third quarter, shooting 4-of-5 from the floor as he seemed to find his aggressive side. The wing also had six boards, an assist and steal in the game.

“We have to teach them to win,” Givens said.

Givens didn’t sugarcoat anything after the game, making note of his team’s poor foul shooting. ANC was 15-of-25 from the line, giving away 10 points that it could have used. It’s not a case of a bad foul shooting team, because the Lions shot the lights out against Lower Moreland in a scrimmage during preseason.

“We got outrebounded and had 19 turnovers, that kills you,” Givens said. “We have to get tough, have to get tougher. They were a lot more physical than we were and that’s a big reason why we couldn’t rebound. They got good position and that’s what we have to teach these young guys to do, get good position, get physical and play hard.”

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