Boys Basketball: Marist can’t match Benet
By Dennis Nelson For Sun-Times Media February 7, 2014 9:48PM
Marist's Kevin Lerma goes up for a shot Friday against Benet. | Dennis Nelson/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 9, 2014 2:18AM
Benet scored in bunches and turned the defensive screws in the second half of its 52-35 East Suburban Catholic Conference road win Friday night over Marist in Mount Greenwood.
The Redwings hit six three-pointers en route to winning their third straight in improving to 14-6 overall and 3-2 in conference. Marist lost its third straight, dropping to 15-7, 2-3.
“I thought our guys did a good job playing with poise in the third quarter,” Benet coach Gene Heidkamp said. “I thought our kids did a good job of playing through their run.”
Marist’s run came in the second quarter. However, the RedHawks trailed 20-8 after one period.
“Benet’s obviously very good,” Marist coach Gene Nolan said. “Other than the first quarter, I thought we played well against a very good team. I thought we battled.”
Benet scored the first 10 points of the game and never was headed. Collin Pellettieri hit two of his four three-pointers and 6-foot-9 center Sean O’Mara hit two free throws to give Benet a 10-0 lead with 4:45 left in the first quarter.
“I thought when we got down to start the game, that hurt us being in a trail position,” Nolan said. “They are sound defensively, and physical. They always have been very good defensively.”
Josh Yesufu’s alley-oop layup gave the visitors a 26-12 lead with 5:45 to play in the first half.
Enter Marist’s Ken Rivard. The 6-7 reserve hit three straight three-pointers, cutting the lead to 26-21 at halftime.
“I was real happy for Ken,” Nolan said. “He does his job and is a great teammate.”
Marist missed two free throws and turned the ball over three times on its first four possessions of the second half. That paved the way for Benet to go on a 7-0 run to open the third quarter. O’Mara’s two free throws pushed the lead to 33-21 midway through the third. Benet led 41-27 after three quarters.
“We made more of an effort to get out to their shooters a little better,” Heidkamp said. “In the second quarter, we struggled a little bit with that. In the third quarter, we were a little more aware and played tougher defense.”
O’Mara, a Xavier recruit, finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Pellettieri had 12 points on four three-pointers, while Liam Nelligan added 10 points, including two treys. Rivard was the lone RedHawk in double figures with 11 points.