It's the last week of the regular season for Class 3A and 4A girls basketball teams. Benet began the week off right with a 44-41 win at home Monday over Glenbard South that should help prepare both teams for the postseason.
It was a battle of two quality squads -- Glenbard South from Class 3A and the Redwings from Class 4A -- with the two teams sporting a combined record of 34-14 going into the contest.
For Benet, which improved to 17-8, the keys to the victory and what coach Peter Paul considers keys to the postseason are turnovers and rebounds. That is, fewer turnovers and more rebounds.
"During the second half we did a much better job rebounding and turned the ball over less," he said. "We have us for just five turnovers in the second half and we outrebounded them."
The Redwings led in rebounds the final two quarters, 21-13. Benet's improved play got off to a quick start in the third quarter as it shot 38 percent from the field to Glenbard South's 23 percent to lead 35-32 at the end of 24 minutes.
Just under a minute into the final quarter, the Raiders' Steffy Bazigos, who led her team with 12 points, sank her third and final 3-pointer of the evening to tie the game at 35.
Benet's Kathleen Doyle, who scored a game-high 15 points, hit a shot for a 37-35 advantage. The Redwings then proceeded to hit 3 of 4 free throws to pad their lead somewhat at 42-37.
The Raiders (18-7) made sure that the game went down to the wire.
Ivana Markovic's bucket cut the Benet lead to 42-39 with 32.9 seconds remaining in the game.
Glenbard South junior Jenna Brambora inbounded the ball to Tomei Ball and her jumpshot made it 42-41 with 21.9 seconds to play. About 13 seconds later, Emily Eshoo, who finished with 11 points, sank two free throws to finally put the game on ice for Benet.
Emily Schramek also had 11 points for Benet. Eshoo was 4 of 6 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter and Paul also praised Kendall McDermott for her defensive work coming off the bench.
"We feel when we reach our goals as far as rebounding and turnovers we can beat anyone," Doyle said. "We outrebounded them in the second half and we were getting our shots up and second opportunities."
Ball followed Bazigos on the Raiders' scoresheet with 11 points and 8 rebounds. Sydney Bauman hit for 9 points and grabbed 8 rebounds also.
"Tomei has been phenomenal. When things don't go our way, we count on her. She wants to lead and wants the ball in her hand," said Glenbard South coach Julie Fonda.
The Raiders coach was glad to play a team like Benet with the postseason so close and was pleased with many aspects of her team's performance, but she said the offense needed to be more consistent against the Redwings.
"There were times when we did not run our offense and jacked up shots. We need to always realize there's a time to shoot and not to shoot," she said.