Boys Basketball: Benet nips Marian Catholic
By Michael O’Brien email@example.com January 17, 2013 10:38PM
Benet's Sean O'Mara splits Marian Catholic's Kevin Phillips (44) and Tyler Ulis (right) Thursday night's game. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 19, 2013 2:02PM
Time and again, Marian Catholic star Tyler Ulis would pull the Spartans out of the fire this season. He didn’t get a chance in the final seconds Thursday night against Benet in Lisle.
Benet’s Pat McInerney’s free throw with 1.8 seconds to play gave the Redwings a hard-won 51-50 win over Marian Catholic in a game that seemed would go to whichever team had the ball last.
McInerney missed the second free throw on purpose, in a successful attempt to keep the ball out of Ulis’ hands.
“Yeah, I missed on purpose,” McInerney said. “I looked at (Benet coach Gene Heidkamp) and asked if I should miss on purpose. He said no. But I kind of did it anyway.”
The ball clanged off the front of the rim and right into the hands of a Benet player, sealing the win.
“That wasn’t necessarily the plan,” Heidkamp said. “But I think he may have done it on purpose.”
The decision held a lot of importance. Ulis nearly was unstoppable in the fourth quarter. When Benet grabbed a four-point lead with 29 seconds to play, Ulis responded by immediately converting a four-point play to tie the game.
“Ulis is an amazing player,” McInerney said. “I can’t even say enough about him. We could have folded after he hit the three-and-one play. I’m really proud of him.”
McInerney finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds. The Spartans (16-2, 2-1 East Suburban Catholic) had no answer for the size of 6-foot-9 Sean O’Mara, who scored 19 and grabbed eight rebounds.
“We knew what O’Mara was and that we didn’t have a way to really stop him,” Marian Catholic coach Mike Taylor said, “and they couldn’t handle Tyler. That game was going to come down to who had the last possession.
Ulis finished with 25 points, shooting 9-of-14 from the field. Terrone Parham added 11 points for Marian Catholic.
The Redwings (18-3, 4-0) remain undefeated in one of the state’s best conferences. They have beaten some of the area’s top players, including York’s David Cohn and Curie’s Cliff Alexander, but Heidkamp was especially impressed with Ulis.
“(Ulis) is an unbelievable player,” Heidkamp said. “That’s as good a guy as we’ve played against in a long time.”