Boys Basketball: Saturday’s Naperville North roundupOswego east’s Damarez McWright puts up two points against Morton during the 3rd Annual Naperville North Shootout at Naperville North High School in Naperville, Ill., on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012.
| Corey R. Minkanic~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 14, 2012 10:59PM
Benet 64, Oswego 55
During its last two win-filled years, there’s probably not much that Benet’s coaching staff hasn’t seen.
With such an inexperienced group from a playing standpoint, the coaching staff has needed to take on a greater role in parlaying lessons.
On Saturday night, during the third annual Naperville North Shootout, the young Redwings received a lesson on how to go about closing out a game.
Using a late first-half run to gain a big lead, Benet answered an inevitable run from Oswego while eventually persevering by earning a 64-55 victory over the Panthers.
Paced by 12 points from senior guard John Enochs, 10 different Redwings scored, including nine in the first half, to help secure what Redwings’ coach Gene Heidkamp would later call a “total team win.”
Seeing the game go through nine ties or lead changes early on into the second quarter as both teams jostled for momentum, Benet (13-4) ended the half on a 16-5 run to take a 31-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.
“In the first quarter, they started switching the screens, so that threw us off for a little bit,” Enochs said. “But (in) the second quarter, we got our composure and we started slipping (the screens). Coming back to receive (the ball), we started getting open shots and we had dump downs in the post for layups.”
Benet would then extend the run further at the start of the third quarter in building its lead up to as high as 17 points while the game started turning into a free-throw shooting contest.
After both teams combined to shoot no free throws during the first half, the two teams combined to shoot 44 free throws in the game’s final 16 minutes.
Despite converting only 13 of its 25 free throws, Benet was able to survive because of the big lead it built.
“Free throws are something that we’re working on and stressing constantly,” Heidkamp said. “We made enough free throws to secure the lead, which I was pleased with at the end.”
The Redwings defeated the Panthers, 58-33, in the Naperville North Shootout last year. It was that rout that served as motivation for the Panthers coming in.
Oswego (7-7) cut Benet’s 17-point, third-quarter lead to as few as six points late in the fourth but couldn’t get any closer.
Panthers junior guard Elliot McGaughy tallied a game-high 20 points, while senior Ryan West and junior Miles Simelton added 15 and 14, respectively.
“It was a positive performance by our guys,” Oswego coach Kevin Schnable said. “They could’ve buried us, but they didn’t. The reason why is that our guys didn’t give up and never gave up. It just felt to me like, it’s such a game of momentum – especially at the high school level, dealing with high school kids. They had all the momentum and our kids halted that. It was just a courageous effort by our guys.”