The Bethlehem Academy boys basketball took another step toward its full capabilities Thursday night with the return of Aaron Huerta to the varsity rotation.
The Cardinals (2-8, 0-4 Gopher Conference) were unable to register a win, however, in a 55-45 defeat against Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton (6-4, 3-2).
Bethlehem Academy started fast and gained a 7-3 lead before a length scoreless stretch allowed JWP to grab a lead it never relinquished. The Cardinals committed 13 of their 19 turnovers in the first half, which allowed the Bulldogs to snag a 30-15 advantage entering the intermission.
The second half was an improved effort, according to Bethlehem Academy coach Ed Friesen. The Cardinals drew within 45-38 and later 49-40 with two minutes remaining, but the Bulldogs converted at the free throw line to secure the win.
Justin Simones continued his torrid offensive stretch with 17 points while draining 8 of 12 attempts from the field. Brad Sartor added 12 points while shooting 50% from the field and Huerta added eight points with the same success rate as Sartor.
Sartor also snatched a team-high nine rebounds and dished out three assists, while Huerta and Charlie King both handed out three assists as well. Hudson Dillon led the team with five assists.
Bethlehem Academy next plays Monday night at home against United Christian Academy.