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With the enormous potential facing Benet's boys basketball team, taking a peek down the road seems only natural.
Not with this team.
The Redwings showed they're already in full playoff mode with Wednesday's 65-35 trouncing of Plainfield East in the Class 4A Naperville North regional semifinals.
Top-seeded Benet (28-0) showed no signs of looking past the 16th-seeded Bengals (15-13) by breaking out to a 10-0 lead and building from there. Expect similar focus in Friday's title game against No. 9 Naperville North (16-11), a team the Redwings beat 62-41 in early December.
"We knew we wanted to get out fast because we know anything can happen in the regional games," said Redwings senior guard Matt Parisi, who hit five 3-pointers while scoring a game-high 17 points. "We had to make sure we came ready to play and start out right from the gate. We were fortunate enough to do that today."
Benet held Plainfield East scoreless for the first seven minutes of the game and closed the second quarter on a 12-0 run to take a 31-9 lead to the half. The Redwings made only 33 percent of their first-half shots, but great execution in every other phase -- including only 2 turnovers -- made the difference.
"I think our defense in the first quarter was the key," said Benet coach Gene Heidkamp. "We knew that even if we didn't shoot the ball well, if we defended and rebounded and took care of the basketball, we'd be in a position that we wanted to be in."
Seven-footer Frank Kaminsky scored 11 of his 13 points in the decisive three-minute span to close the half, getting a dunk, a 3-pointer and a three-point play in the process.
"Only giving up 9 points in a half is pretty good defense," said Kaminsky, who pulled down 12 rebounds. "We knew the regionals were kind of a trap for us last year so we just had to come out with defensive pressure the whole time."
The lead continued to grow in the second half as everyone got in the act for Benet. Dave Sobolewski, who finished with 14 points, gave the Redwings their largest lead of 49-16 just after the starters began to be pulled from the game late in the third quarter.
"In our first regional game last year we were down 10 points at halftime," Kaminsky said. "We were more prepared for this, and we knew what could happen. We just needed to get through it."