2016-'17 Season Coverage
updated: 2/14/2017 10:37 PM

Benet gets off to a good start

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By Matt Le Cren
Daily Herald Correspondent

Benet is facing high expectations, but it was Neuqua Valley that felt the pressure on Tuesday night.

The host Redwings began their quest for a third consecutive Class 4A girls basketball championship by rolling past Neuqua Valley 72-17 in a regional semifinal in Lisle.

Katie Jaseckas, who recently broke the school's all-time rebounding record, had 18 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 assists to lead the Redwings (25-4), who forced 10 turnovers in the first quarter with their full-court press.

"One of our big things for the playoffs is coming out strong and I thought we did a really good job and also sharing the ball," Jaseckas said. "I thought our team did a phenomenal job doing that.

"Most girls scored and there were so many things that factored into the game that really made it an awesome game to be a part of."

Indeed, 12 players scored for the Redwings, who racked up 23 assists and shot 30 for 51, including 18 for 26 in the second half.

Jaseckas sank 8 of 9 shots before the starters left for good midway through the third quarter with a 46-11 lead. She showcased some fine athleticism in going coast-to-coast for a pair of layups.

"Katie is a warrior," Benet coach Joe Kilbride said. "Every night, all year, every year she's going to come out battling.

"Now obviously (it is the) state tournament. We've kind of come through the dog days here and now the kids have gotten re-engaged and gotten after it."

Jaseckas has 710 varsity rebounds, breaking the old mark of 690 set by 2002 graduate Jenny Callan. She has taken on more responsibility after the Redwings lost 6-foot-1 sophomore forward Lauren Stack to a torn ACL last week.

"As a senior it really hit me that if we lose this game there's no more season, so that really pumped me up," Jaseckas said. "I really tried to focus on this game and I really want to get back to state."

Stack's injury has not changed that desire.

"It was a setback, but I think everyone learned that it's a big possibility that we can keep going," Jaseckas said. "We have a lot of good players and you saw that tonight.

"We've had so many girls step up. Emma (Lyne) had a phenomenal game today. I'm really proud of her."

Lyne, a senior guard, replaced Stack in the starting lineup and had 8 points and 3 assists. Kendal Schramek added 9 points and Clara Prasse had 5 assists and 3 steals.

But the big revelation was sophomore guard Quin Earley, who came off the bench and tallied a personal-high 11 points in the second half, sinking 4 straight shots, including a trio of 3-pointers.

"I've been working for it, but I wasn't expecting anything," Prasse said. "I'm just here to help whenever I can, so to have a game like that is really great."

Makinzie DeHaan scored 6 points to lead Neuqua (9-20), which suffered its worst defeat of the season.

Benet's margin of victory was its biggest of the year.

"You could kind of feel the energy shift in practice," Earley said. "We've been really getting hyped up for practice, especially when we lost Lauren. We really wanted to go out and play for her."

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