The fourth-quarter clock slowly drained, minute after minute, and still the Redwings' boys basketball team couldn't get on the scoreboard. A double-digit lead dwindled to single digits ... and they waited some more.
Then, after more than five minutes, the wait finally ended when Will Engels drained a pair of free throws to pad the lead with 18 seconds left.
Benet claimed its first Wheaton Warrenville South MLK Tournament championship with Monday's 53-48 victory over Plainfield East.
The Redwings (14-4) beat Plainfield South and Lake Forest Academy on Saturday, then edged York and the Bengals (13-8) on Monday to emerge 4-0 from the grueling event. David Buh and Jacob Petrovic earned all-tournament honors, but any number of players could have made the list.
Six-foot-seven junior Noah Ferrell came off the bench to score 15 post points while 6-8 Colin Crothers, who had to be replaced by Ferrell because of foul trouble, scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half. Buh was steady as usual with 15 points.
"Whenever I come off the bench, whenever my number is called, I'm just ready," said Ferrell, who scored 13 first-half points as the Redwings built a double-digit second-quarter lead. "Since it was a championship game, I was definitely ready to come out and show what I can do."
A 12-3 third-quarter run boosted Benet's lead to 43-26 with 2:50 left in the third quarter, but Plainfield East stayed within striking distance behind its full-court pressure. The Bengals forced five fourth-quarter turnovers but managed only 8 points during the five-minute span when Benet didn't score.
Collin Reed scored to make it a 51-45 game with 37 seconds left, and the Bengals had a couple of chances to dent the deficit further. They couldn't do it, though, and Engels ultimately gave the Redwings the breathing room they needed.
"We knew they were going to be a tough team to beat," Crothers said. "We knew we had to bring it all in order to get the win."
York, which fell 37-36 to Benet in Monday's semifinals, beat Notre Dame 62-40 to finish in third place. WW South beat Lake Forest Academy, 52-29, and Oak Park, 57-52, to take fifth place.
WW South's Parker Robinson and York's Nick Kosich each made the all-tournament team.
"Obviously, we're pretty happy about winning four games in three days against pretty good competition," Buh said. "We knew we could go far in this tournament. It feels great to come out on top."
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