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The last few seconds of the third quarter were a perfect example of why the Benet girls basketball team beat host Lockport 59-45 Saturday to open 2014.
The Redwings' Emily Eshoo, who led Benet (11-6) with a game-high 22 points, took a shot and missed. It was grabbed by Kathleen Doyle. She missed. Emily Schramek grabbed it and put it through to give her team a 46-34 advantage at the end of 24 minutes.
Benet owned the boards like one owns a house after signing all the papers, especially early on, finishing with a 30-17 rebounding advantage.
"The last couple of games that we lost, we were outrebounded by the other teams and we've been working on rebounding in practice," Doyle said.
The Redwings opened the final quarter with three consecutive baskets, including two 3-pointers by Schramek to blow the game open and take a 20-point lead. The Porters (6-5) knocked down the Benet advantage to 13 with 1:45 left in the contest.
While rebounding was crucial to the Redwings, making adjustments on defense was as well. The teams turned it on offensively in the opening quarter with Benet leading 19-18 at the end of it on 55 percent shooting from the field while Lockport hit for 62 percent.
Scoring cooled somewhat in the second quarter with the Redwings outgaining the Porters 14-8 for a 33-26 intermission lead. But the Porters during the second and third quarters ran their offense at times with not enough resistance from the Benet defense and that had to change if the Redwings were going to put a tight grip on this game.
Lockport senior Naomi Mayes, who finished with 9 points, scored 6 of her team's 8 second-quarter points including one off a steal by Ciara Mayes that tied the game at 22. Later she deadlocked the game at 24 on a putback and then was left untouched for a layup that gave the Porters a 26-25 lead with 3:52 left until halftime.
The Porters cut the Benet halftime lead to 36-34 midway through the third period. The Porters were helped during the rally by baskets from Naomi Mayes and Kianna Campbell, who led her team with 12 points.
The Redwings finished the quarter on a 10-0 run, and defensive adjustments were a factor.
"We tighten it up a little bit. A couple of people were hurting us and we were able to adjust," said Benet coach Peter Paul.
Schramek finished with 13 points and Doyle contributed 12.
It was Benet's first game since holiday tournament action ended two weeks ago.
"We focused a lot on defense in practice and that will help us in the future win important games," Eshoo said. "I think we picked it up at halftime. Our aggressiveness, rebounding defense, once they came together that helped us win the game."
The Redwings resume East Suburban Catholic Conference play Tuesday with a 7 p.m. home game against Joliet Catholic.