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The new kids on the court left a lasting impression.
Making its triumphant return to the Proviso West Holiday Tournament after a 24-year absence, Benet's boys basketball team claimed a 54-50 overtime victory against Homewood-Flossmoor in Thursday's title game at the 50th annual event in Hillside.
Trailing by 4 points with three minutes left in regulation, Benet finished with 4 straight points on a pair of free throws by tournament MVP Dave Sobolewski and a Pat Boyle bucket with 2:31 left.
Both teams survived missed 3-pointers in the final minute, including a miss by the Vikings' Tyrone Sherman at the buzzer, to force overtime.
Sobolewski scored first in overtime, and Sherman's free throw made it 51-50. Matt Parisi's free throw with 19 seconds left put Benet ahead 52-50, and Redwings 7-footer Frank Kaminsky blocked Sherman's running layup attempt at the other end to preserve the lead.
When all-tourney pick Parisi, who grabbed the loose ball, nailed a pair of free throws with 11.2 seconds left, the 54-50 win was sealed.
"We knew what we had to do to win the game," said Boyle, who scored 7 points and defensively held Vikings all-tourney forward Julian Lewis to 4 points. "We knew we'd have to bring it every single day if we wanted to win this tournament."
Benet (14-0), which won the tournament for the first time in its 10th Proviso West appearance, trailed through most of the first three quarters and faced its largest deficit of 10 points when Sherman scored the first basket of the second quarter for Homewood-Flossmoor (9-3).
The Redwings spurred their rally in the third quarter, using a Parisi 3-pointer and a Boyle basket to reclaim a 34-33 lead. A three-point play by Pat McInerney and a free throw by Boyle gave Benet its biggest lead of regulation at 45-42 midway through the fourth quarter, but the Vikings scored 7 straight to build a 49-45 advantage.
One final push got the Redwings to overtime and the eventual championship.
"It took an experienced team with some kids that were hungry, that believe in each other," said Benet coach Gene Heidkamp.
Sobolewski scored a game-high 19 points while Kaminsky had 12 points and 9 rebounds despite an ankle sprain suffered Wednesday. Antonio Bishop led the Vikings with 13 points.
"I'm so proud of the guys on our team," Sobolewski said. "Everybody stepped up and was a part of the tournament win. We just gutted it out tonight."