2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 2/7/2014 11:28 PM

Benet plays strong

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By Joe Cosentino
Daily Herald Correspondent

Benet wore down Marist to win 52-35 in East Suburban Catholic Conference boys basketball competition on Friday in Chicago.

The Redwings' big man, Xavier-bound Sean O'Mara, dominated the game with a game-high 20 points despite the RedHawks' attempt to play tough in the middle. Collin Pellettieri had 12 points and Liam Nelligan added 10 more to seal the win.

"They are a good team and they execute very well," said Redwings coach Gene Heidkamp. "They are very difficult to guard with their style of play and they shoot very well."

The Redwings (14-6, 3-2) jumped out to a 26-12 lead midway through the second quarter led by O'Mara, who controlled the offensive boards and scored 14 points in the first half. But the RedHawks' Ken Rivard came off the bench to sink three 3s to cut the Redwings' lead to 26-21 after two quarters.

"In the second quarter we struggled a little bit getting the ball out to the shooters," Heidkamp said. "We got rattled a little bit and went scoreless for a while. I thought our kids did a good job of keeping poised to keep playing."

The Redwings broke things open in the second half. Pellettieri potted two 3s and Nelligan added another to stretch the Redwings' lead to 41-27 after three quarters.

"(Marist) threw gimmick defenses at us left and right," O'Mara said. "They had three guys on me at the start of the game, which is fine. They can do whatever they want. We came out hot with a lot of 3s, but we won it on the defensive end."

RedHawks coach Gene Nolan felt his boys played well but they couldn't keep up with the stronger and more physical Redwings. Falling into a hole 20-8 after one quarter, the RedHawks played well for the remaining three quarters, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Redwings.

"There are so many ways they can hurt you," Nolan said. "They have shooters on the perimeters and an outstanding big man (O'Mara) on the inside who is also an outstanding passer. I thought that we battled. When we got down to start the game, that hurt us because we were playing in the trail position from there. Benet is an outstanding defensive team. They really make you earn everything you get."

The RedHawks (15-7, 2-3) were without leading scorer Nic Weishar. Weishar, a Notre Dame football recruit, was out with an ankle injury. Rivard scored 11 points and Bradley Hill scored 9 to lead the RedHawks.

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