Benet started out strong but Marian Catholic put it together late in the first half and into the second to defeat the Redwings 89-84 in overtime in the opening game of the East Suburban Catholic Conference on Friday in Chicago Heights.
Tyler Ulis had 33 points for the Spartans, and Sean O'Mara had a game-high 36 for the Redwings.
"We played the third-ranked team in the state," said Redwings coach Gene Heidkamp. "We didn't make the plays at the end and they did. We didn't get the defensive stops we needed and didn't capitalize offensively when we had the opportunity. They played better as the game went on."
Everything was going the Redwings' way from the start, building up a 20-point lead at one point, but the Spartans came back to close the gap. Ulis, a Kentucky recruit, slowly brought his team back with 14 points as the first half ended 44-33.
Ulis hit a 3-point basket at the buzzer to end the third quarter to pull the Spartans (5-1, 1-0) to within 64-56. With less than four minutes left in the fourth quarter, Ulis stole the ball from Collin Pellettieri, broke away for a layup and was fouled. He sank the free throw to pull the Spartans within three points.
"I was very relieved that I shot one in and it helped us a lot," Ulis said. "It was the first time we came out that slow."
O'Mara, who fouled out in overtime, came back with two consecutive baskets to give the Redwings (6-2, 0-1) a 75-68 lead. But the Spartans didn't quit. Ulis hit a 3-pointer with 38 seconds left in regulation time to tie the game at 75 and send it into overtime.
"Ulis is pretty good, but we knew that from the beginning," Benet's Colin Bonnett said. "We missed some free throws down the line and got beat on the defensive boards. The times we needed boards, we didn't get them."
In the overtime period the Spartans outscored the Redwings 14-9 to seal the win.
"Games like this give you gray hair," said Spartans coach Mike Taylor. "We're a team that plays hard and fights hard and we walked out of here at halftime believing we could come back. As long as we continued to push the ball up the floor we were able to turn them over. We got them to speed up a little bit and that was the key. We didn't do it enough in the first half and Benet came out hot."