CLINTON — Lucas Laufenberg spent a few anxious moments watching from the bench after fouling out with 1 minute, 48 seconds remaining.
"It seemed like it lasted forever," Laufenberg, a senior, said of watching his teammates try to finish off Unity Christian of Fulton, Ill., in a non-conference boys basketball game Friday night at Central Catholic Auditorium.
"I didn't really know how it would go because a lot of our guys hadn't been in an experience like that."
He didn't need to worry, though. The Irish held on for a 50-43 victory.
"It's great having the younger players like that step in," Laufenberg said.
"Our young guys are going through some growing pains, but they're getting better," Irish coach Gerry Murphy said.
The youngsters came through in some key situations, but the Irish (2-5) also kept the ball in the hands of the experienced players when the game was on the line as they began the second half of the season the same way they started the first: with a win.
"It's always great to start with a win," Laufenberg said.
The Irish led most of the way, but the Knights made things interesting several times in the second half. They even held a short-lived lead at 26-25 early in the third quarter, but Laufenberg made sure the Irish got it back.
He scored eight of his team-high 18 points in the third quarter, helping Prince of Peace score six straight in one stretch and build leads of 35-26 and 37-28 with a minute left in the quarter.
"I liked when we had three freshmen, a junior and one senior, and they kind of took over and got us the lead back," Murphy said. "But, our last minute of every quarter we had key mistakes when we should have spread the ball out. I think we took some bad shots when we didn't need to take shots."