Bolingbrook makes it a difficult day for Benet
NORMAL -- Benet junior point guard Lenee Beaumont was whistled for traveling in the opening minutes of Friday's late-night third-place game against Bolingbrook.
After the turnover, Beaumont glanced back at the officials in astonishment.
A few possessions later, Benet senior center Morgan Demos failed to score on two short putbacks on the same possession, causing her to mumble a few words to herself while heading back to the defensive side of the court.
The Redwings were quickly adding to their day-long misery, misfiring on their first two 3-pointers after shooting 0-for-14 on 3s in a state semifinal defeat to Stevenson earlier in the day at Redbird Arena.
This was certainly not shaping up to be a typical day for Benet, which won the highly competitive East Suburban Catholic Conference championship.
Considering the conference had two teams reach the Class 3A championship game -- Nazareth and Carmel -- it was an atypical day for Benet.
In a Class 4A third-place game between two programs with a combined six state championships dating back to 2006, Bolingbrook held Benet scoreless in the final two-plus minutes to pull out a 57-54 victory in the final of 12 state games across four classes.
The Raiders (25-6) had two players in double figures, paced by Kennedi Perkins (16 points) and Angelina Smith (15 points).
Even though the Redwings (30-5) were coming off a deflating semifinal loss to Stevenson earlier in the day, Benet coach Joe Kilbride gushed with pride about the resilience his team showed to notch the program's second fourth-place trophy -- the Redwings also placed fourth in 2019.
"I knew they would bounce back and come out here and play with pride and joy, and they did that," Kilbride said. "Obviously, none of us are built for losing two (games) in a day. Sometimes, we lose two in a year, so it's not an easy thing. I'm incredibly proud of them to know what it took for them to get down here to Redbird."
Benet senior guard Margaret Temple, who scored 4 points in the semifinal loss to Stevenson, was the first player to run out on the court before Friday's third-place game. Temple quickly showed there would be no repeat of Benet's 3-point woes. She sank her first three 3-pointers to provide some energy for the Redwings. Temple scored 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc and added 4 assists
Five hours after the semifinal, the Associated Press Class 4A No. 2-ranked team came alive in the second half with a spirted effort against Bolingbrook. Temple buried a 3-pointer and Demos scored on a lay-in to cap an 8-0 run to put the Redwings ahead 42-34 midway through the third quarter.
Still, Beaumont, an AP Class 4A Second-Team All-State selection, remained bitten by foul problems. Beaumont, who scored seven points and fouled out against Stevenson, entered the state semifinal averaging 15 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists and connecting on 76 3-pointers.
She came up big in the last two quarters against the Raiders to finish with 12 points, a pair of 3-pointers and 2 assists in just 19 minutes.
Demos, who collected 11 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 assists against the Raiders, concluded her senior season with a strong game. The Navy recruit scored on a lay-in to push the Redwings ahead 18-17 in the opening minute of the second quarter. She added a three-point play to increase the lead to 26-23 with just over a minute left in the half.
Early in the fourth quarter, Kilbride even cracked a smile when reserve sophomore guard Shannon Earley scored on a back-door layup. The Raiders scored three unanswered points in the final 70 seconds to knock off the Redwings.
"I played with some very special people," Demos said. "I just tried to stay focused and kept working on what was not working. You can't be flawless every game, and you have to adjust. Basketball is a great sport, and we were able to play another game after we lost. I'm so happy we had one (last) game with each other."