Benet rolls to ESCC triumph
Jack Prock was in an unfamiliar role Friday for a senior starter on Senior Night.
Prock, Benet's second-leading scorer, was one of 12 Redwings seniors recognized. After a late start to the game, Prock waited six minutes to first check in. But he looked right at home coming off the bench.
Prock hit five of Benet's eight 3-pointers, and the Redwings shook off a sluggish first quarter to post a 58-43 East Suburban Catholic Conference win over Joliet Catholic.
"It was super fun. It was good to get the other guys in the game. It's fun to see everybody play because we all work so hard in practice," said Prock, a 6-foot-3 guard, who also had 4 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals. "It was good to see everybody get a chance to perform in the game."
Prock scored 15 points, Jacob Snell had 11 points and 6 rebounds and Colin Crothers 8 points for Benet (17-5, 5-1), all off the bench. John Ersham led Joliet Catholic (9-14, 0-6) with 15 points on five 3-pointers, all coming in the second half.
Prock, who checked in with Crothers with 1:25 left in the first quarter, promptly hit his first 3-point attempt to give Benet an 8-6 lead after a quarter. The Redwings had missed their first four 3-point tries, but Prock hardly missed a beat, going 5 for 7 from distance.
"It wasn't necessarily hard to get into the flow of the game," Prock said. "The guys ahead of us did a good job to keep it close. We were a little slow in the beginning, but we picked it up. I had a good warmup and it was fun. I know some of those Joliet guys from grade school."
Prock hit two 3s more during Benet's 17-0 run to end the second quarter for a commanding 27-12 halftime lead. His fifth 3, in the third quarter, sparked a 12-0 run for a 44-18 Benet lead.
Prock's shooting heroics are nothing new to Benet coach Gene Heidkamp. He averages close to 13 points a game on the year.
"Prock's had a good year," Heidkamp said. "He can really shoot the ball."
Joliet Catholic, already facing an uphill climb against a Benet team in second place in the ESCC behind Notre Dame, had to do so short-handed. Sophomore Conor Sukel suffered a shin injury Tuesday against Sandburg, and Ante Acosta is also out.
"That's the last thing we need, is our best inside scorer and rebounder to be out, and our best defender," Hilltoppers coach Joe Gura said. "We had to mix things up, we went zone, different things to keep them off balance. I thought our kids played extremely hard."
Joliet Catholic led 12-10 after a Drew Buss 3-pointer 89 seconds into the second quarter but went scoreless the final 6:31 and shot just 3 for 18 for the half.
"We knew if we were going to push the lead out we had to get stops, we couldn't just trade baskets," Prock said. "That's a big thing that coach Heidkamp talks about."
Cristian Young added 9 points for the Hilltoppers, 8 coming in the second half.
"Our kids got some looks against their defense; inside is where they hurt us," Gura said. "But I'm super happy with our effort. I thought we competed well against a good team."
Benet's schedule stiffens considerably in February, starting with a Saturday home game with 18-2 DePaul Prep. The Redwings host ESCC leader Notre Dame Feb. 14, followed by road games at Stevenson and St. Charles North.
"Our February is one of the more challenging you're going to find in the state with the quality competition," Heidkamp said. "We're making progress, we're getting better as a team. But we're going to be challenged in every game we play."