Behind 26 points from Edgewood’s senior forward Kent Faurote, the Edgewood Eagles defeated the Benedictine Eagles 64-60 in the Northern Athletics Conference semifinals on Thursday night in the Dan and Ada Rice Center.
The game came down to the final seconds, as BenU and Edgewood exchanged leads the entire second half. With about 50 seconds left and a two point lead, Edgewood senior guard Derek Nkemnji (nine points, five assists) would grab the offensive rebound off of a missed free throw, leading to a Faurote basket to put Edgewood up 62-58 with 16 seconds left.
Benedictine senior guard Nate Green (25 points, six assists, five rebounds) would make two free throws late, but it proved to be too late as Faroute would make two more free throws after an intentional foul from BenU junior forward Mark Pace, which gave Edgewood the 64-60 victory.
“They left it all out on the table,” BenU Head Coach Keith Bunkenburg said on his team’s performance. “Their effort was phenomenal, and I’m really proud of our guys.”
The start to this matchup could not be more different than the team’s first round contest, as both offenses struggled to get going. With the score just at 7-7 after five minutes, Edgewood would capitalize off BenU turnovers, turning steal into a 13-7 lead. However, Benedictine would go on an 8-0 run of their own, grabbing a 16-15 lead with 11 minutes left in the half.
After exchanging runs, Green took over towards the end of the first half. Scoring the last eight BenU points of the half, he gave Benedictine a 27-26 lead heading into the intermission.
Faurote was the standout performer in this game, however, as his 18 second half points proved to be the deciding factor for Edgewood. He was aided by senior guard Ben Wisniewski, who added 14 points and seven rebounds of his own
“Their two seniors did a nice job,” said Bunkenburg. “They made some nice shots. I give Edgewood all the credit in the world.”
For the Eagles, it was the last game of the BenU careers for seniors Nate Green, Davey Bernard and Kyle Bickler.
“Our seniors; Nate, Bickler, Davey, what a great career,” said Bunkenburg. “We’re going to miss those guys a lot. It’s going to be tough not seeing them every day.”
Sophomore guard Michael Woolf was second in Green to scoring tonight with 10 points for Benedictine, as it was another productive performance the first-time Eagle had in the second half of the season.
Along with Bunkenburg, Woolf was also very appreciative of what the seniors did for him, particularly Green.
“I struggled in the beginning part of the year and started questioning whether I could do it anymore,” Woolf explained. “But I really appreciate everything those guys did for me, especially Nate. He never let me get too down on myself, no matter how bad things were going.”
“People don’t talk about how good of a teammate Nate is,” Woolf added. “Most people seem to talk about how good of a player he is, but without him here this year, there’s no way I would’ve had the year that I had.”