After the Benet boys basketball team beat Naperville Central 71-47 in the title game of the Oswego/Naperville North Hoops for Healing Tournament on Friday night in Oswego, talk was of progress.
Benet coach Gene Heidkamp thought the Redwings (4-0) got better as the tournament progressed and the team showed against the Redhawks (3-1) that certain aspects of its game have improved from last season.
Case in point, the offensive pressure Benet put on Naperville Central. Four Benet players scored in double digits, including three with 15 points or more.
The team was led by senior Sean O'Mara, who scored a game-high 21 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. Liam Nelligan followed with 16 points and 7 rebounds. Colin Bonnett had 15 and Josh Yesufu 11.
"We're scoring more and handling a lot more pressure," O'Mara said. "I think my numbers are boosted because of that ability and what the guys are doing."
Benet led from the start. Naperville Central coach Pete Kramer called a timeout with 3:39 left in the first quarter with the Redwings up 14-5 on 6-of-8 shooting from the field while the Redhawks were just 1 of 6. Benet led 20-11 at the end of the first eight minutes.
Naperville Central heated up its offense in the second quarter, shooting 40 percent from the field after hitting 25 percent in the opening quarter. But the Redwings maintained their double-digit lead at halftime 33-23.
The Redhawks got to within 8 with 4:35 left in the third on Ryan Antony's basket that made it 39-31. However, Benet led by 11 at the end of three quarters, and a 23-point output in the fourth broke the game completely open.
Nick Czarnowski led Naperville Central with 15 points and 8 rebounds. Antony scored 10.
The tournament named O'Mara and Czarnowski co-MVPs. They play on the same AAU team.
"Nick is a great friend and it was great going up against one of the best big men in the state," O'Mara said.
Kramer was pleased overall with getting a good start to the season at the tournament as the Redhawks head into the brunt of their schedule. But he stressed that improvement is needed.
"Defensively, we just have to get better. We're missing some guys off the football team that will help us. But that's not an excuse," he said. "I'm pleased that we're 3-1. This tournament has given us great experience and what we need to do better, we can improve upon," he said.
Naperville North won the third-place game over Oswego 79-61.