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Pat McInerney’s long-range three-pointer that prompted the Benet forward to jump in celebration as the first half ended wasn’t all the 6-foot-5 senior had to smile about.
McInerney hit three three-pointers in the second quarter as part of his 14-point, 14-rebound effort to propel No. 6 Benet to a 55-35 victory Tuesday night over host Plainfield North on the first day of the Tigers’ holiday tournament.
“To be honest, I didn’t think it had a chance to go in,’’ McInerney said of the first-half buzzer-beater that gave Benet a 31-14 lead. “When it did go in I was pretty happy. When I get hot, I start to feel it.’’
McInerney certainly didn’t have to go it alone. Center Sean O’Mara had 14 points and seven rebounds and guard Josh Yesufu came off the bench to score seven of his 10 points in the second quarter to help Benet outscore Plainfield North 21-7 in the quarter.
“The second quarter was the key to the game,’’ Benet coach Gene Heidkamp said. “The second quarter we played much better offensively. We did a little better job of moving the ball. Guys stepped up and made shots. We played with more energy.’’
Plainfield North responded with a 16-point third quarter, but the Tigers couldn’t stop Benet (7-1) from scoring inside as O’Mara maneuvered for eight third-quarter points.
“We really think those two guys (McInerney and O’Mara) are pretty good, a lot of experience for us,’’ Heidkamp said. “We like the ball in both of their hands.’’
Kurt Palandech led Plainfield North (4-4) with nine points and Kiefer Ketelhut contributed seven points and eight rebounds.
“O’Mara is a great player, but he’s not the only player on that team,’’ North coach Nick DiForti said. “McInerney and all their guards, even when they sub their guards out, they have guys that come in and play their role.’’
Benet has won the tournament the past two seasons. Benet plays T.F. North on Wednesday and Lincoln-Way North on Thursday before the Redwings finish the tournament with a Friday game against Lockport.
“This is really tough for us — we have five games in a row,’’ Heidkamp said. “We play four games here and we play St. Ignatius on Saturday. We think this is good for us. We’re going to see different styles of play.’’