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Sean O’Mara is the centerpiece of Benet’s collective of talented basketball players. He is far from alone in his ability to impact a game.
The 6-9 junior center maintained his hot shooting and Benet earned valuable contributions from its supporting cast as the No. 11 Redwings pulled away for a 60-51 victory over No. 19 Bogan for fifth place of the Proviso West Holiday tournament Monday in Hillside.
O’Mara scored on a dazzling array of post moves, drop steps and face-up jumpers in scoring 26 points and grabbing seven rebounds for the Redwings (14-3). He shot 12-for-14 from the floor. In the final three games of the five-game tournament, O’Mara shot 29-for-35 from the field.
Behind O’Mara and forwards Jack Euritt and Pat McInerney, the Redwings shot 70 percent from the field (24-32), including 80 percent (20-for-25) on two-point attempts. Euritt (5-for-5) and McInerney (3-for-3) were perfect from the floor.
Benet outscored Bogan 13-2 at the start of the third quarter and 9-0 to open the fourth quarter.
O’Mara was efficient and consistent. He shot 6-for-7 in both the first and second halves.
“My teammares are doing a great job of getting me the ball where I like it,” he said.
The Redwings recovered from a sluggish start, scoring just two baskets in the opening quarter. O’Mara collected eight points on four baskets in the second quarter and that enabled the Redwings to settle into a more comfortable offensive rhythm.
“We struggled early with turnovers and their pressure, but once we got where we wanted the ball, which was the front court, we were able to run our offense through Sean, and he’s really expanded his game from a year ago,” Benet coach Gene Heidkamp said.
The first half featured two ties and five lead changes. Bogan countered Benet’s inside effectiveness with its speed and quickness. Senior forward Brandon Berry shot 8-for-12 from the floor and drilled two three-pointers in scoring a team-high 20 points for the Bengals (8-5).
Berry’s four-point play provided Bogan its final lead at 22-21. Euritt responded with a aggressive drive and finish at the basket. Euritt converted two three-pointers in scoring 15 points. “Ever since the Proviso East game [in the quarterfinals], I’ve felt more confident and aggressive with my shot,” he said.
He also was the primary defender on Bogan’s star sophomore guard Luwane Pipkins.
“Pipkins has been averaging more than 20 points in this tournament, and Jack really made him work for his points,” Heidkamp said.
“He’s definitely one of the hardest players I’ve ever had to guard,” Euritt said. “He’s so quick and explosive, I just to stay up on him and not give him easy looks.”
Pipkins scored 10 points, though he shot just 3-for-16 from the floor.
McInerney (seven points) contributed game-highs of 14 rebounds and six assists. Eddie Eshoo drilled tow three-pointers in contributing eight points.
Guard Juwan Henry added 17 points for the Bengals.