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King’s Christian’s Benefield cousins bond on and off the basketball court

By AJ MASON

Staff writer

The two are nearly inseparable and have a special bond that many don’t get the chance to have in high school sports, and that is a family connection.

Cale Benefield and Seth Benefield, who are cousins, are starters on the King’s Christian boys basketball team in Callaway under first-year head coach Louis Butler, who replaced eight-year head coach Robert Lloyd.

For the third straight season, the two are looking to join forces on the court yet again.

“Being cousins we already have that chemistry,” said Seth Benefield, a senior forward who has been a four-year starter for the Eagles. “I think it will be a pretty good season. We lost some good players and we have our work cut out for us, we just have to be ready. We want to win some games this season.”

King’s Christian, which finished 8-11 overall a season ago, lost its leading scorer to graduation in shooting guard Kevin Graham, who averaged 23.3 points per game for the Eagles. It also lost guard Tyreek Murray, who transferred to Great Mills for his junior season. Murray averaged 15.7 points last season as the team’s point guard.

“This is a special group of young men, we have some outstanding underclassmen and we have very good shooters on this team,” said Stewart, who is a former head coach for Great Mills girls basketball. “I’ve been coaching in [St. Mary’s] County for over 30 years in parks and recreation, so I’m happy to be here.”

Stewart, a Chopticon High School graduate from Loveville, said that the Benefield duo will be the leaders who will make the Eagles go.

“Seth has a good head on his shoulders and he is a great leader for us,” Stewart said. “It shows in practice and he will be very strong for us inside. Cale is a great shooter and has inside skills.”

Seth mentioned that he and Cale have a lot of family time with each other off the court.

“We have a great relationship,” Seth said. “Our dads are brothers, so we spend time together outside of school, which helps us bond on the court. We definitely push each other to get better.”

Cale, a junior guard, averaged almost 10 points a game last season.

“It will definitely be an enjoyable year to play with Seth again,” Cale said. “We have a special connection on the court and at school. When we are playing, we can communicate without even saying something to each other. Our goal is to help the school win. We just want to play basketball and learn as much as we can. This team is very young, so it will be a process.”

King’s kicked off the season on Tuesday at Lanham Christian of Prince George’s County, a game that ended too late for inclusion into this edition, and will go to Washington, D.C., on Saturday to take on Model School of the Deaf at 2 p.m.

“We want to continue to work on the fundamentals,” said Stewart, whose team competes independently. “It will be a learning process; we just want to get everyone on the same page.”

Stewart added, “We have to keep working hard, we have a strong group of players. The younger players will have some jitters, but we hopefully we can peak by midseason.”

As King’s look to find its identity in a young season, the Benefield bond continues to grow every day.

“There is no disconnect at all, we are always going to be close, we are like brothers,” Cale said. “We know each other’s strength and weaknesses. So, I know where he likes the ball on the court and he knows where I like the basketball.”

ajmason@somdnews.com