Lyman, Benet score key win over Stevenson
Compared to the energy he exerted on defense, Liam Lyman made a game-high 24 points look effortless.
Led by the 6-foot-4 senior's two-way performance, Benet's boys basketball team scored Tuesday's impressive 69-53 nonconference victory over Stevenson in Lisle.
Not only did Lyman tally 11 of his points in the fourth quarter as the Patriots rallied, defensively he chased 6-7 Stevenson forward and Indiana recruit Justin Smith for 32 minutes. After Smith finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds, Lyman was understandably pretty tired.
"I didn't care how many points I scored," Lyman said. "I knew I had to come in and do the job on Justin. I'm not going to lie. I got tired at the end, but I was just trying to do whatever I could to slow him down."
Jack Nolan, meanwhile, had his own issues while scoring 12 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter for the Redwings. He dislocated a finger but a trainer put it back in place without Nolan ever leaving the game.
As the case typically is for battle-tested Benet (17-6), it took a little bit from everyone to pull out a victory against a strong team like Stevenson (15-4).
"This was a huge win for our team," Nolan said. "It was really important for us to get a big win going down the stretch of the season, kind of build some momentum."
Stevenson struggled mightily with its shooting, especially in the first half while making only 5 of 23 shots. Benet took advantage by opening a 14-point second-quarter lead, a margin that grew to 15 points for much of the third quarter.
Smith, who scored 3 first-half points, came alive for 10 points and 6 rebounds during a third-quarter rally. The Patriots pulled within 44-37 early in the fourth quarter but the Redwings recovered with back-to-back Lyman buckets.
"They play a packed defense," said Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose. "They're going to cause us to shoot it and kind of stay out of the lane. If we don't stick jump shots it's going to be hard for us."
Willie Herenton scored 18 points to lead Stevenson while Jackson Qualley and Eric Zalewski scored 6 points apiece. Matt Teglia had 8 points and Justin Enochs 7 points for Benet.
"I thought we played a solid four quarters," said Benet coach Gene Heidkamp. "Our team defense was the best it's been in a long time and we played with a lot of confidence offensively."
Follow Kevin on Twitter