For the Lincoln Pius X boys basketball team, the golds were golden.
The Class B sixth-ranked Thunderbolts got 17 points from their bench, including three three-pointers in the fourth period, to hold off Norris 46-40 Friday at Flavin Gym.
Pius' second five, called the gold team in practice, helped stop a Norris rally that trimmed an eight-point deficit to four midway through the final quarter.
The Titans (8-9) stayed within striking distance behind the inside play of Zach Tebo, a 6-foot-4 junior post player who scored 11 of his game-high 18 points in the final period.
"We had a hard time with him," Pius X coach Ray Forycki said of Tebo. "He's a big kid, and we couldn't stop him from backing us down and we couldn't get around him. Late in the fourth quarter they just went to him and he was putting it up."
Tebo's second three-point play of the period sliced Pius' lead to 37-34 with 4:10 left in the game, but the Bolts responded quickly when Stuart Sucha nailed his second three of the game 14 seconds later. Sucha led Pius' bench scoring with six points, but two other second-unit players also had threes.
"This past week, and I think I can say this, our gold team, our second group, played very, very well in practice," Forycki said. "They took it to our green team a couple of times. At one point, we had our whole gold team on the floor tonight because of the way we subbed. We have confidence in two groups of five, and that's what you want at the end of the season."
In addition to Sucha, fellow reserves Jared Kolbush and Matt Powell added threes in the fourth period.
The Thunderbolts (13-4) also got key baskets from starters Dustin Oberembt and Trevor Johnson, and a pair of free throws from a third starter, Jack Burt, in the final 1:34. Johnson, who was held to four points in the first half, added eight in the final two periods.
"We played good defense and we took our opportunities to score," Forycki said. "When you're used to playing up-tempo and now, all of a sudden you have to play a different style of ball against a good team, I think that says good things about us. I'm looking for a silver lining. I was pleased that we were able to change and come out with a win against a team that has always been tough for us."
For Norris coach Curt Carlson, the loss was another tough setback in a game that could have gone either way.
"When (Pius) put the press on us our kids tightened up a little bit and we made a couple of costly turnovers in the fourth quarter," Carlson said. "That's kind of been our history this season against good teams. We play them close, but we can't finish the game off."
A 33 percent shooting effort in the first half forced the Titans to look inside in the second half. The strategy worked, as Tebo took over inside.
"One of the things we talked about at halftime was that we weren't shooting well from outside, but we were getting some things going inside. We wanted to keep pounding the ball inside."
Norris finished shooting 38 percent from the field while the Thunderbolts made 16 of 35 shots for 45 percent
"They hit some key shots and that's why they're where they're at and why we are where we are," Carlson said. "We've improved in a lot of areas since the beginning of the year, but we're pretty inexperienced."