For all the missed free throws, rimmed-out layups, untimely turnovers and general mishaps, Benet's boys basketball team still had its defense.
The Redwings always have their defense.
It served them well Friday in Lisle as the Redwings held off Notre Dame 60-59 in double overtime in a fierce East Suburban Catholic Conference matchup.
Benet (14-4, 2-1) overcame 12-of-22 free-throw shooting including 1-of-4 shooting in the final 1:32 of the second overtime when the Redwings were trying to seal the win.
Leading 60-54, Benet looked in great shape. Notre Dame's Joe Ferrici, however, converted a three-point play, then got a steal and layup to pull the Dons (15-6, 2-2) within 60-59 with 1:10 left.
Squandered opportunities on both sides led to Notre Dame having the ball with 12 seconds left and a chance to win, but Benet's Pat McInerney came up with a steal and sprinted downcourt to finally wrap up the game.
"We knew it was going to be a battle, but we didn't expect a double-overtime slugfest," McInerney said. "They're a great team, so we're just happy to come out of here with a win."
There were 12 lead changes and 11 ties with neither team holding more than a 6-point advantage. The Dons rallied from a 5-point third-quarter deficit to build a 47-43 lead with 2:20 left in regulation.
Benet guard Jack Toner came off the bench to spark a rally, drawing two charges and snagging 4 steals starting in the fourth quarter. His two free throws put Benet ahead 49-48 and Bobby Wehrli's split at the line made it 50-48, but Notre Dame's Duante Stephens scored to send it to overtime.
Two points apiece in the first overtime -- none in the final 2:14 -- led to the second overtime. A pair of Sean O'Mara post buckets, Griffin Hanekamp's 3-pointer and McInerney's free throw created the 60-54 lead that nearly faded.
"We just stayed together and we knew we'd pull it out if we just stopped them on defense," Toner said. "We really needed this win. We always have each other's backs out there, and that's what we needed tonight."
O'Mara led Benet with 16 points, while Wehrli finished with 15, McInerney with 14 and Hanekamp with 10. Matt Mooney poured in a game-high 22 points for Notre Dame.
"It's fitting that we won the game on that last possession with defense," said Benet coach Gene Heidkamp. "That's kind of the character of this team. Even though it's not always pretty, these guys play with a lot of heart and toughness."