2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 3/19/2014 7:39 AM

Benet wins one for the alums

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There's a theory that you can't argue with history.

Not only did Benet's boys basketball team argue with it Tuesday night, the Redwings grabbed it, threw it to the ground and tossed it out the gymnasium door at Hinsdale Central.

When Glenbard North rose for two potential game-winning 3-point attempts in the waning seconds, every Benet fan with a memory flashed back to 2010: the devastating 3-pointer by Simeon's Brandon Spearman that sent that supersectional game to overtime and led to an eventual Benet loss.

This time, history didn't repeat itself.

Not even in the same gym.

Benet held off the Panthers for a 62-59 victory in the Class 4A Hinsdale Central supersectional, sending the Redwings to a state semifinal showdown against Edwardsville (30-2) at 8:15 p.m. Friday at Peoria's Carver Arena.

Want to talk about defying history? This weekend marks the first state appearance by a Benet boys basketball team since 1983.

"Should we get Brandon Spearman out of the way right now?" joked Benet coach Gene Heidkamp. "That was exactly what I thought when that ball went up, I'm not going to lie to you."

Through 127 victories the last five seasons, Benet (24-7) knew it had the potential to reach this point. But if it wasn't Simeon, Spearman and Jabari Parker denying the Redwings one year, it was East Aurora and Ryan Boatright the next.

The Redwings were seconds away from a state semifinal appearance in 2010. The next year Boatright and the Tomcats handed Benet its lone loss after 29 wins to start the season.

Benet senior center Sean O'Mara, committed to Xavier, was a freshman on the heartbroken 2011 team. With members of that team in attendance on Tuesday, including Northwestern's Dave Sobolewski, there was no escaping the meaning of the moment.

A pregame phone conversation between Heidkamp and another 2011 team member, Wisconsin standout Frank Kaminsky, hammered home the point.

This year's team needed to make the history past teams failed to achieve.

"We were 11-6 at one point in the year thinking, 'What did we get ourselves into?'" O'Mara said. "To get here and get to this point, it's the greatest feeling I've ever had being a part of Benet and being a Redwing."

As much as the Redwings have accomplished reaching this point, they now sit on the verge of something ever greater.

Benet's best state finish resulted in a third-place trophy in 1979.

This entire team knows generations of former Benet players will be watching to see if the Redwings can take history a step further in Peoria.

"The former players, I hear from them all the time before we play these tournament games," Heidkamp said. "I'm proud of that because those guys care a lot about our program, and they do so much for our program.

"To be able to get this today, I know that they're happy."

Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevin_schmit

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