Benet enjoys move down the hall
Benet's four seniors received a rare treat on Thursday.
Besides Benet coach Joe Kilbride utilizing four seniors in his starting lineup, a special pamphlet honoring the seniors -- Ashley Konkle, Kaley Liszka, Clara Prasse and Lauren Stack -- the Redwings played in the alumni gym for the first time.
Under Kilbride, the Redwings have won two Class 4A titles. But Benet had yet to play a home game in the smaller gym.
The Redwings made sure to make it a special moment.
Konkle scored 16 points and Brooke Schramek added 12 to lead Benet to a 66-35 romp over Marian Catholic in an East Suburban Catholic Conference game. The Redwings (22-5, 6-0) play Nazareth for the conference championship on Monday.
Kilbride said the main gym temperatures were too cold to play a game, thus leading to a shift to the auxiliary gym.
"It was 55 degrees in the main gym, so they weren't sure if it could get warmed up in time for the game," he said. "Since I've been here, we haven't played a girls game in this gym. It was kind of fun."
It was fun from the opening tip, but just for Benet.
Konkle had a dominating effort in the post, scoring 12 points to help the Redwings seize a 36-17 halftime lead. The Spartans (15-12, 2-3) fell behind 11-0 in the first quarter.
"I loved playing in this (smaller) gym," Konkle said. "We practice in here a lot. We always love practicing in here more than the large gym. It's more compact. It was special because it's the first time we got to play in here, especially being on Senior Night. We made it memorable."
Schramek, a junior, admitted the intimate gym was a nice change. Benet's defense forced five turnovers in the Spartans' first seven possessions.
"We all were excited to play in the small gym because of the feel and the atmosphere," Schramek said. "I think the seniors actually have really wanted to play a game in the alumni gym."
The Redwings put the game out of reach by shooting 7 of 9 during a four-plus minute stretch in the third quarter, while the Spartans missed seven shots in a row. The 6-foot-2 Konkle feasted on Marian's interior players, scoring the majority of her points within 4 feet of the basket.
"In practice all week Coach has been telling me be patient, so I kept telling myself to be patient and a did a good job with shot fakes," Konkle said.
Next up for the Redwings is Monday's game at Nazareth, which placed second in Class 3A last season.
"Nazareth is our biggest rival, by far," Schramek said. "It will be a really good matchup."