At the start of the year, Benet freshman Katie Jaseckas found herself on the Redwings' sophomore team, but by the end of the season she was helping the varsity team win the Class 4A East Aurora regional championship.
The 5-foot-11 center turned a hopeful three-point play into a four-point play with 1:30 left in the third quarter to help the Redwings take a 1-point lead over Naperville North. It was a play that changed the momentum for Benet as it beat the Huskies 57-46 on Friday.
"I was hoping for a three-point play. I wasn't expecting the ball to come right back at me and I just went up," Jaseckas said. "All the girls started getting pumped up and we got our shots and yeah, I think that was the turning point."
In the first half Benet's Emily Schramek and Naperville North's Kayla Sharples seemed to be in a shootout. Schramek dropped 11 points in the half, while Sharpies countered with 12 points of her own.
The even duel of those two translated into the team aspect as well, as both teams were neck and neck for most of a high-tempo, run-and-gun game. The teams finished the first half with Naperville North up 26-24.
In the second half the emergence of Jaseckas' four-point play and the timely shooting of Schramek helped Benet inch out ahead of the Huskies, taking a 49-44 lead into the final two minutes of the game.
"Give credit to them," said Benet coach Peter Paul, who is in his final season as coach. "They battled as hard as we did. I thought down the stretch we got some key free throws that we hit and that helped us and that freshman Katie Jaseckas helped us tremendously. (That play) turned the tables around."
From then on Redwings guard Kathleen Doyle played her part from the free-throw line for Benet. The sophomore buried 6 of 8 free-throw attempts to help secure the final regional title of her coach's career.
"We practice these pressure situations in practice all the time and I wanted to be at the line so I had convidence…," Doyle said. "So lucky I just knocked them down. Gave us the win."
Benet's Schramek finished with 18 points, Doyle with 17 and Jaseckas had 8 points on the night, while Naperville North's Sharples had a game-high 19 points.
"I think we presented ourselves well," said Naperville North coach Jason Dycus. "I think we competed. I think for a team who has three sophomores on the floor predominantly throughout the game, with a young team, being in a regional championship is something to build on."