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In terms of its inside-out game on Tuesday, Benet's boys basketball team definitely leaned on the "out."
Three seniors knocked down 10 3-pointers to help the Redwings beat Wheaton Academy 63-48 in nonconference action on Senior Night in Lisle.
Collin Pellettieri led the way with five 3s, with Dan Roemer adding three and Liam Nelligan two more. Throw in 15 points and 11 rebounds from 6-foot-9 Xavier-bound center Sean O'Mara, and Benet's offense proved tough to stop for the feisty Warriors (16-8).
"Once we knock down some outside shots it just opens things up for Sean even more," said Nelligan, who scored a game-high 16 points. "And Sean's a great passer in the post. He's always finding guys on the perimeter, and everyone's a pretty confident shooter on our team."
Early on Wheaton Academy showed its commitment to slowing O'Mara, but that allowed Benet's perimeter trio to go to work. Benet (17-7) took its first double-digit lead on a Pellettieri 3-pointer and then went to halftime ahead 31-17 after his third 3-pointer just before the buzzer.
"When we're making shots we're tough to guard," said Benet coach Gene Heidkamp. "The defense is so oriented to Sean that guys are open on the perimeter because they have to compensate so much for Sean in the post."
The Warriors didn't do themselves any favors while shooting 5 of 19 from the field in the first half. Wheaton Academy, however, finally settled in and played much better toward the end of the third quarter.
A 7-0 run, capped by two straight buckets by Bennett Fuzak off the bench, narrowed the deficit to 52-42 midway through the fourth quarter. Benet regained its composure after a timeout, responding with 5 straight points including a putback by O'Mara, who battled foul trouble all night and played the final five-plus minutes with four fouls.
"It was a little disappointing the first half because I didn't think we competed very hard," said Wheaton Academy coach Pete Froedden. "But I was proud of our guys in the second half. I thought we competed and did some things offensively."
Pellettieri scored 15 points and Roemer had 11 for Benet while Gordon Behr led Wheaton Academy with 15 points. Josh Ruggles added 10 points.
"We've been in this program for four years, most of us," said Benet senior Daniel Bensen. "We just wanted to come out big on a night that honors all our hard work."
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