Benjamin Franklin boys basketball falls to Apache Junction

Brandon Doggett of Benjamin Franklin dribbles the ball down court. (Arianna Grainey/Independent Newspapers)

Apache Junction Prospectors’ boys basketball team started out slow on Monday night against the Benjamin Franklin Chargers, before pulling away to a 74-40 win.

“Apache Junction played a good ball game, can’t take anything away from them,” Benjamin Franklin Coach Kyle Slade said. “They’re coached well and it just wasn’t our night.”

“There was only like a four-point game at the end of the first and then 15 at the half and I wasn’t happy with it,” AJ Coach Scott Stansberry said. “We went back there and made some adjustments, got out and started playing our brand of basketball during the second half.”

Stansberry said he told his players this game, as with all upcoming games, is important.

“They (Benjamin Franklin) weren’t highly ranked and I felt like again here we go were starting to play to their level,” Stansberry said. “I just told them (the team) if we have ambitions of winning the state championship then we can’t play to their level and they just came out with fire under their feet and played harder second half.”

Stansberry said inconsistency has been a problem this year, but that they have beaten some of the better teams in their division.

“We are making a playoff run; We are ranked 21st in the state, top 24 get in,” Stansberry said. “We’re a bubble team right now.”

One of the biggest playmakers for AJ was senior guard Jason Karm, who had 38 points himself.

“I came out aggressive, like my coach wants me to,” Karm said. “They were playing a 2-3 and they were open up in the middle a lot so my coach wanted me to attack, be aggressive: either take it myself or dish it down to a teammate.”

AJ held the lead the entire game.

“It’s what we wanted to do, we wanted to have a running clock,” Karm said. “But we also wanted to stay humble.”

Cameron Bender was Benjamin Franklin’s highest scorer with 15 coming on five three-pointers.

“I am a three point shooter and I just like shooting,” Bender said. “So I just kept shooting.”

Bender said the second quarter was the team’s downfall.

“Our defense just kind of fell apart at the second quarter and beginning of the second half,” he said.

On Jan. 26 the Chargers play Arete Prep in Mesa.

On Wednesday (Jan. 27) the Prospectors head to Coolidge.

“Coolidge is never easy, it’s a tough place to play, they always have a great crowd,” Stansberry said. “But our boys know them from our middle school league.”

“We just have to take it game by game,” Karm said.

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