Boys Basketball: Defense makes difference for Benet
Updated: December 3, 2011 10:00PM
During its 55-5 run over the past two seasons, the basic formula for Benet was quite simple: tough, physical defense.
Despite the losses of David Sobolewski, Frank Kaminsky and Matt Parisi to graduation, that formula won’t change. Six-foot-8 sophomore center Sean O’Mara provides the biggest evidence to support that theory.
Working out the kinks offensively by using a balanced effort across the board, Benet was able to come away with a 47-32 victory over Loyola Saturday night in Lisle as part of the inaugural Catholic League/East Suburban Catholic Conference Challenge.
Continuing to try and find its flow collectively as a team on offense was made easier by the defensive effort the Redwings put forth against the Ramblers, behind the likes of O’Mara and senior forward Bobby Wehrli.
On two separate occasions, Benet was able to force Loyola into an extended drought from the field.
In racing out to a quick 8-1 lead to begin the game, the Redwings didn’t allow the Ramblers to connect from the field until Ramblers sophomore guard James Clarke, who tallied a game-high 18, hit on a three-pointer 5:58 into the game.
Loyola (3-3) went into another extended drought in the second quarter by only managing one field goal, another triple from Clarke, in the quarter.
“Those are two things that we’ve definitely been focusing on, ever since the beginning of the summer,” Wehrli said of the importance of playing physical defense and controlling the boards. “Coach (Gene Heidkamp) has been on getting on us for defense and rebounding. We’ve got a fairly athletic and pretty large team, so we think, every single night, we should kill each team on the boards.”
In the midst of doing heavy lifting on the defensive end, Wehrli and O’Mara led the offensive output by scoring 14 and 10 points, respectively, while also combining to pull down 16 rebounds.
“The more experience I have is just better for me and the team,” O’Mara said. “It’s gonna be interesting to see how the rest of the season goes. I’m excited.”
Ater leading wire-to-wire and by as many as 19 points in the fourth, Benet (4-0) got a 10-point effort from Wehrli in the game’s final quarter to secure the victory.
With a date Tuesday at Naperville North upcoming, Heidkamp is most proud of the fact his younger and inexperienced team has held all four of its opponents this season to under 40 points.
“I think Naperville North is, obviously, very well-coached,” he said. “They’re playing very well. They’ve got some real nice players. They change defenses really well, so that’s gonna cause us some problems. But we’re looking at it as a challenge.
“Right now, we’re more worried about our team getting better game in and game out.”