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12/28/12 Hillside-Proviso Easts Paris Lee goes to the basket over Benet. Stacia Timonere/for Sun Times Media
Jevon Carter was perfectly content playing a secondary role as Proviso East built a double-digit lead against Benet in a Proviso West Holiday tournament quarterfinal.
Then Benet’s 6-9 star junior Sean O’Mara turned the game into a one-man wrecking crew and Carter knew he had to respond. “I was pretty silent for the first three quarters, and I knew I had to step up and take over and shine in the fourth quarter,” he said.
The junior Pirates guard scored seven of his nine points inside the final four minutes as No. 5 Proviso East withstood a spectacular O’Mara second half performance in the 50-46 victory over No. 12 Benet Friday in Hillside.
“I also loved what Paris Lee and Sterling Brown did for us, but Jevon has a tenaciousness, a nastiness even, about his game that we really needed, especially in the fourth quarter,” Proviso East coach Donnie Boyce said.
Proviso East (9-2) won its sixth consecutive game and advances to play No. 9 Oswego in the first semifinal Saturday night. Oswego beat Proviso East in its own Thanksgiving tournament.
Carter’s heroics and the vicious Proviso East pressure proved the right tonic in overcoming O’Mara’s 14 second half points. O’Mara scored a game-best 21 points and added eight rebounds for the Redwings (12-3).
Carter drilled a three-pointer from the top of the key and added a runner off the glass after Benet’s 15-2 run cut a 15-point deficit to a single-possession game. O’Mara scored 11 points in the fourth quarter as the Redwings shot 64 percent (16-for-25) from the field. O’Mara made eight-of-nine from the floor, including all four shots he attempted in the fourth quarter. Benet shot 13-for-15 on two-point shots.
Carter’s two free throws with 39.2 seconds pushed the Pirates’ precarious lead to 49-46.
Benet committed 26 turnovers, including 19 in the first half as Proviso East outscored the Redwings 17-4 to take a 31-18 lead at the break.
“We just made too many mistakes, we turned it too much, we didn’t make our free throws (11-21) and we missed some early opportunities,” Benet coach Gene Heidkamp said.
“The fact is, we didn’t play well, and we’re disappointed with that.”
Illinois State-recruit Paris Lee scored 13 points and recorded four steals to lead the Pirates. Rapidly improving Kalin Fisher contributed 10 points. Southern Methodist-recruit Sterling Brown added eight points, eight rebounds, two steals and a block.
Up 40-27 to start the fourth quarter, Proviso East endured a seven-minute scoring drought dating to the end of the third quarter. “We didn’t have the same patience in the fourth quarter that we did in the first three quarters,” Boyce said. “You have to credit Benet for a lot of that. Sean O’Mara is obviously a very difficult player for us to guard. He really made his presence felt in that fourth quarter.”
“We just tried our best to contain him, and fortunately we were able to come out on top,” Carter said.