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In the aftermath of his team’s loss to St. Viator to begin the month of February, Benet coach Gene Heidkamp made a somewhat obvious statement.
Frustrated by his team’s poor free-throw performance that night, Heidkamp said you need to know what your team is and what it does well.
Well, two things he knows he can count on reside in the post with the combination of senior Pat McInerney and junior Sean O’Mara.
Asserting their dominance inside, McInerney and O’Mara started things early for No. 7 Benet on offense while a barrage from three-point range took care of the rest en route to securing a 51-39 road victory over Wheaton Academy on Tuesday night.
McInerney recorded a double-double for the Redwings while O’Mara added 12 points and eight rebounds to complement their shooting rampage from the outside.
Surpassing its victory total of all of last year, Benet (22-4) hit on nine-of-16 three-point attempts to break open a six-point ballgame midway through the third quarter.
“We had a number of guys knock down shots from the perimeter. Obviously, (senior guard) Rob (Haemmerle) had a huge game. Him and (sophomore guard) Colin (Bonnett) hit a couple threes and I think (senior forward Jack) Euritt had one or two,” said McInerney, who scored 10 points in the midst of pulling down 10 rebounds on the night. “But when those guys can hit shots, it takes our offense to a whole other level because you know Sean’s gonna get his (points) down low and if (opponents) are gonna collapse on him, kick it out and hit threes—we’re tough to guard, I think.”
Beginning the fourth quarter on a 12-0 run, the Redwings led by as many as 21 points in the second half.
Haemmerle had a team-high 13 points off the bench for Benet on a night that saw him connect on four three-pointers.
“Well, they had to help out a lot on Sean and that opened up a lot of blast screens and stagger screens and I just had to come off those screens and got wide-open shots because my teammates set great screens, delivered the ball on time,” he said. “It just worked in our favor.”
Haemmerle and Bonnett combined to chip in with 19 points off the bench and converted six of Benet’s nine threes, a development that certainly pleased Heidkamp.
“What I think is the story of the game to me is (how) some guys came off our bench and played really well,” Heidkamp said. “Rob Haemmerle and Colin Bonnett came in and played well. I think that’s really encouraging. I think that just shows that our kids are stepping up and playing like how you want them to play late in the season.”
Warriors’ junior forward Gordon Behr got off to a hot start in tallying the Warriors’ first eight points as they were nip-and-tuck with the Redwings early on.
But in ending the first quarter on a 10-0 run, the Redwings’ defense stiffened on Behr considerably and McInerney and O’Mara took care of the offensive end in combining for 14 points and 10 rebounds in the first half as they took a 26-15 lead into halftime.
Senior guard Collin Roy had a game-high 18 points for the Warriors, with 13 of them coming in the second half.
Behr and Roy combined to score all 15 first-half points for Wheaton Academy (18-6), which was held to its lowest point total of the season.