2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 11/26/2016 7:55 PM

Malonga's shot a winner for Benet

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By Matt LeCren
Daily Herald Correspondent

Benet junior Tsimba Malonga showed off her Kathleen Doyle impersonation on Saturday.

It was a hit with her girls basketball teammates, though not their opponent.

Malonga succeeded Doyle, the 2016 Illinois Miss Basketball, as the Redwings' point guard. She scored a game-high 15 points, including a 14-foot fadeaway jumper with two seconds left, to lift Benet to a 47-45 victory over Oswego East in the championship game of the Naperville Central Tip-Off Tournament.

The Redwings (6-0) won the tournament for the third straight year. They also beat Oswego East in last year's title game as well as for the sectional championship.

"It was a huge shot and she's just very, very good in that middle distance," Benet coach Joe Kilbride said. "She was shooting it pretty well tonight, she had good rhythm going, they were on their heels. I just figured let's go with it."

Benet trailed by as many as 9 but closed the game with an 11-2 run. Oswego East (5-1) was holding for the last shot when Malonga made a steal with 11 seconds left.

After the ball was knocked out of bounds, Kilbride called Malonga's number and she drove down the lane before pulling up and swishing the shot.

"When I knew that Coach called a play for me, I knew that he believed in me," said Malonga, who also had 5 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists. "I had confidence in myself that I would be able to do something to make a shot for us."

Malonga initially had second thoughts after releasing the shot.

"Actually, when it left my hand I saw (center) Katie (Jaseckas) down low and knew I should have passed it to her," Malonga said. "She was open for that quick pass, but it was too late."

But Jaseckas didn't mind.

"I was under the basket and I just look up and I see it just flying and I was like, 'Oh, my gosh,'" Jaseckas said. "I looked at her and said, 'How did that even go in?' It was amazing.

"That just shows how much she is prepared for this."

Jaseckas helped rally the Redwings from a 43-36 deficit by draining back-to-back 3-pointers. Oswego East's Amaya Jones made two free throws, but Kendal Schramek drilled another 3 to tie the game at 45-45 with 1:41 remaining.

Jaseckas, who missed all but two minutes of the first half with foul trouble, tallied all 10 of her points and 4 steals in the second half. Kendal Schramek had 8 points, and sophomore Lauren Stack added 7 points and 5 rebounds for Benet, which overcame poor shooting to beat an experienced team featuring post players Ty Battle and Sydney Schultz.

Schultz, a Missouri State recruit, had 10 points and 7 rebounds, while the Indiana State-bound Battle had 9 points and 9 rebounds.

"It was a team win," Malonga said. "It's still early in the season, so we have a lot of improvement to do, especially free throws, but we will work hard in practice and bring a lot of effort for games like this.

"One of our goals is to win all of our tournaments this season, and that's definitely a start."

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