Benet beats St. Charles North in physical contest
By his standards, Jack Prock had a substandard first three quarters on Friday night.
The Benet senior guard scored five points in the first quarter, but managed just two points over the next two quarters against St. Charles North.
But Prock, a slender sharpshooter, came alive just in time to salvage a victory for the Redwings in a nonconference game marred by noncalls and rough play. Prock drained two 3-pointers in the final minutes to power the Redwings to a 45-43 victory over the North Stars.
Prock scored nine of his 16 points in the final quarter to give the Redwings (22-9) some momentum heading into Tuesday's Class 3A playoff opener.
"I thought it was a good game," Prock said. "The last couple of games I haven't been able to shoot the ball the way I wanted to, so today was a good way to get back on track before the playoffs started."
Prock helped the Redwings overcome a subpar free-throw effort -- 6-for-17 -- and off-nights by senior point guard Matt Reid (scoreless) and senior center Colin Crothers (10 points). Prock drained a corner 3-pointer, off a whip pass by Reid along the baseline with 2:07 remaining. Forty-nine seconds later, Prock, off another pass from Reid, canned a 3-pointer from the wing to pad the lead to 44-38.
Besides his shooting, Prock dove to the ground twice for loose balls in the final two minutes to spark the Redwings.
"Matt Reid made two really good passes to me," Prock said. "They were perfect passes and I stepped in and shot it. The two balls on the ground were just plays we needed to secure the game."
Despite the lack of flow, Benet coach Gene Heidkamp said his team gained a quality victory in a matchup of 20-win teams.
"We had a lot of contributions from our bench and I thought that was important," Heidkamp said. "This was a solid win on the road going into the playoffs ... Jack really stepped up. We needed him tonight. An emphasis over the course of the week was to get some looks for Jack. He made some really big ones late. That's what we need from him. We had trouble scoring, and two those threes gave us little bit of a cushion."
Colin Nelson paced the North Stars (21-9) with four 3s for 13 points and Connor Linke, a Bradley recruit, added 10 points and 12 rebounds on Senior Night. The North Stars, Linke said, are motivated to surpass last season's run to the Class 4A sectional semifinals, where they lost to Rockford East 51-46.
"(Benet) is the type of team we're going to face if we make it to sectionals, so this is the type of competition we want to playing in the last day of the regular season," Linke said.
The North Stars, a No. 2 seed in a subsectional of the McHenry sectional, play the winner of the South Elgin-Elgin game on Tuesday in a Elgin regional semifinal.
"I thought that was much better than practicing today," St. Charles North coach Tom Poulin said. "We're all little disappointed because we feel we beat ourselves to an extent with some mistakes ... We've played a really tough schedule, been through some serious battles this year. They are really hungry to get back to where they were last year."