Jan. 19—The game was well in hand on Friday night for the Lebanon boys basketball team when head coach Albert Hendrix emptied his bench.
One of the players called upon was senior Ben White, who was appearing in just his second game of the season.
And when White drilled a sideline 3-pointer for the final points of the game, the Tigers bench erupted in cheers, getting some of the loudest applause of the night.
It was a perfect example of the team chemistry the Tigers have been trying to build over the past few months and after Friday's 50-29 win, the Tigers find themselves with a 7-7 record with eight games to play.
"It was great to see Ben hit that," Hendrix said. "He is a senior who doesn't get a lot of time, but he comes in every day in practice and gives great effort. He is 2-for-2 now on the year and we are all really happy for him. That's the piece of the puzzle that we're looking for — that culture. We have it now."
Lebanon led just 7-6 at the end of the quarter, before pushing the lead to 20-12 by the half.
The Tigers shot just just 7 of 22 in the first half, including 3 of 13 in the first quarter.
"Their coach did a nice job in the first half in keeping it a slow pace, low possession game," Hendrix said. "They did a nice job of that and we didn't do what we needed to in the first half. We did a better job in the second half and getting it to a pace we wanted."
But the Tigers picked it up in the third quarter.
Leading just 25-21, the Tigers went on a 16-2 run, getting baskets from several different players in the process.
While Kaden Lark led the way with 22, seven different players scored.
"It's stuff we have been working on and we are getting better at it," Hendrix said. "We need everyone to hit their shots, because we know teams are going to try and bottle up Lark and Jack (Ferrell). The other guys have to take advantage of their opportunities when they are open and tonight they hit a few. We had to get Kaden into a little bigger gear, and he responded in a great way in the second half."
Wesley Byrd had eight points for the Tigers, with Bryce Jones and Colin Fouts chipping in five each.
The Tigers have won three of four games in January, and look to get above .500 for the first time all season when they travel to Covington on Saturday night.
"Covington is a fun place to play, it's a small gym that still has the Indiana basketball atmosphere," Hendrix said. "We are going to have to come ready to play. They play a similar style to Tri-West, getting good guard play and they have a 6-6, 6-7 left-handed kid that is a nice player. We have to get after it tomorrow night and not take anything for granted."
Will Willems is the Sports Editor of the Lebanon Reporter. Follow him on Twitter @Will_Willems.