Benet wraps up regular season with win over St. Charles North
It could be challenging to find meaning in a nonconference boys basketball game three days before the playoffs begin.
Stay healthy. Stay fresh. Stay ready.
While both Benet and St. Charles North were caught between conference games two days earlier and Class 4A regional preparation, they still managed to trudge through some ragged play in Friday's 49-39 Redwings victory in Lisle.
Benet, a 20-game winner for the 10th straight season, enters the Bartlett sectional as a second seed riding a five-game winning streak.
"These kinds of games are really hard for us, coming back off a big win (Wednesday over St. Viator)," said Redwings senior forward Kendrick Tchoua, who scored a game-high 22 points and grabbed 6 rebounds. This week he also added a scholarship offer from the University of Indianapolis to go along with an earlier offer from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
"We just had to keep strong, keep playing and keep the intensity up," he said.
How ragged was the play on Friday, a game rescheduled from Feb. 5 due to bad weather? Benet (23-7) committed 19 turnovers and made 3 of 9 free throws. St. Charles North struggled even more while committing 22 turnovers and shooting 2 of 14 from the line.
At one point in the second half, the North Stars (11-17) missed 11 straight free throws.
"You take a look at the schedule we've played, it's prepared us for the tournament," said North Stars coach Tom Poulin. "We need to clean things up. This game puts a magnifying glass on some things. This was tournament basketball, at least in my mind. This is better than getting in the gym and practicing or giving the guys a day off."
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Tyler and Christian Czerniak of St. Charles North tied the game at 16-16. Benet responded with 11 straight points, closing the first half on a nice feed from Tchoua to Matt Reid, then got the opening basket of the third quarter from Colin Crothers to open a 29-16 advantage.
Crothers overcame foul trouble to score 12 points and grab 5 boards. Connor Linke led the North Stars with 10 points.
"For both St. Charles North and us, it's a tough game to play," said Benet coach Gene Heidkamp. "I thought both teams did a pretty good job of fighting through it and competing. Ideally you wouldn't want to play this late in a nonconference game, but with Chicago weather, that's kind of how it goes."