Benet blows out Naperville Central to capture regional title
Pat McInerney didn't score much in the second half. He didn't have to.
LISLE — Pat McInerney didn't score much in the second half.
He didn't have to.
The Benet senior had two steals, three assists and 12 points in the first quarter and helped the Redwings explode out of the gate on their way to a 62-36 win over Naperville Central in Friday's Class 4A regional championship game at Benet.
"I saw a couple shots go in and I fed off the crowd," said McInerney, who had 18 points at halftime and finished with a game-high 19. "I was feeling it a little bit and my teammates did a great job of putting me in positions where I had open shots."
McInerney scored 12 points in the first quarter, getting a steal and layup on Naperville Central's first possession of the game. Benet raced out a 21-5 lead after a quarter, led 36-11 at halftime and enjoyed a 44-14 lead with under three minutes left in the third quarter.
McInerney led the way, but Benet (26-5) had five other players score in the first half, including Sean O'Mara with six points. Central (18-10) had four players score in the first half.
As much as the Redwings' offense impressed, it was their defense, which limited the Redhawks to a 13-of-39 shooting performance, that was the key to the hot start and the big victory.
"Defensively we had a really good two games," Benet head coach Gene Heidkamp said of his team's two regional wins. "I think that gets overshadowed when the ball goes in the basket, but there's going to be games when the ball doesn't go in the basket and we need to give ourselves a chance, and that's why our defense is so crucial."
"It was really our defense," McInerney said. Our defense got us out to a good start, we got a couple layups and everyone started feeling it, and we feed of each other's energy."
Benet will face Neuqua Valley, a 69-61 winner over Waubonsie Valley in the Oswego East regional final, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in a semifinal of the Bolingbrook sectional.
O'Mara finished the game with 13 points. Colin Bonnett had six, Eddie Eshoo five, and Jack Toner, Jack Euritt and Robert Haemmerle four points apiece for Benet.
If you have any technical difficulties, either with your username and password or with the payment options, please contact us by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org