Benet keeps it simple in ESCC win
Basketball can be a complex game. At other times success on the court can be determined easily.
Host Benet beat St. Patrick on Friday night by simply making its shots at the right time, and it resulted in a 69-34 victory.
"We shot the ball well. We made our shots early and when you make shots your energy level goes up," said Benet coach Gene Heidkamp whose team improved to 18-3 overall and 4-1 in the East Suburban Catholic Conference.
The Redwings opened the game hitting 5 of 7 from the field, including 3 of 4 from the 3-point arc to lead 14-3 when the Shamrocks (11-10, 3-2) called a timeout with three minutes left in the opening period to try and stop the momentum.
Benet led 20-8 at the end of the quarter. Junior Jack Nolan hit three of his five 3-point baskets during the first eight minutes. He finished with a game-high 17 points.
"It was a fun first quarter. The whole team shot well and it starts on the defensive end," Nolan said.
A 3-point basket by Keishun Thomas put St. Patrick to within 8 early in the second quarter. That was as close as the Shamrocks could get the rest of the way. Benet led 34-19 at halftime.
The Redwings didn't let up in the second half, outscoring St. Patrick 35-15 during the final two quarters.
Nolan said Benet met the challenge of keeping its level of play up with the outcome of the game decided early.
"It's a challenge. But Coach emphasized it at halftime to stay focused and we came out focused in the second half," he said.
Liam Lyman followed Nolan on the scoresheet with 12 points. Justin Enochs finished with 9 points, all 3-pointers. Benet finished with a dozen 3-pointers overall.
Benet's schedule had been busy since Christmas. But after Jan. 22's 40-39 win at St. Victor, the Redwings had a week off from games and were determined to put it to good use. Heidkamp wanted Benet to work on its transition game.
"We have wanted to get out in transition more than we have recently, getting looks at the basket before the defense is set. And we've had more of an emphasis on it in practice this week," he said.
And Heidkamp was glad for the extra time to prepare for St. Patrick. The Shamrocks have made their presence known in the ESCC this season by winning at Notre Dame and beating Marist, which was 17-3 overall going into Friday's action.
"It helps, with the quality of our conference, to have a few days to prepare for a team like St. Patrick," the Benet coach said.
The Redwings take on West Aurora at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Batavia's annual Night of Hoops.