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St. Benedict had the momentum.
Hope Academy had Ricky Calvin Jr., and that was enough to pull the shocker.
Calvin poured in a career-high 35 points and added 10 rebounds and three blocked shots to power the Eagles’ stunning 75-73 overtime upset of top-seed and 21-win St. Benedict in a Class 1A regional semifinal at Luther North Tuesday.
The Eagles advance to play the host Wildcats Friday night for the right to play in the 1A Mooseheart sectional.
Calvin scored 16 of his points in the second half and overtime, even though he picked up his fourth foul with more than five minutes to play in the third quarter. The Eagles (12-15) watched a 22-point first-half lead disappear.
Even more discouraging, Hope Academy watched the Bengals stage a miraculous fourth-quarter comeback, scoring five unanswered points in the final 18 seconds of regulation to force the extra session.
“After the way the fourth quarter ended, we got together as a team and just talked about it and decided to come out and get out energy back for the overtime,” Calvin said.
Calvin’s three-point play with just over a minute to go in overtime provided the Eagles with a 74-72 lead and marked the sixth and final lead change of the second half. His free throw with 32 seconds to play provided a crucial two-point differential.
St. Benedict star sophomore guard Marshawn Williams, who equaled Calvin’s brilliance with 30 points, seven assists and four steals, had a three-point shot bounce off the back rim at the buzzer.
Hope Academy reversed an eight-point loss to the Bengals in Chicago Prep play.
“I didn’t have a very good game against them during the season, and my coach got on me about it and he said I had to come out and play better,” Calvin said.
Senior guard Armando Sacluti (17 points, seven assists, three steals) combined with Calvin to score the Eagles’ first 25 points. Despite picking up his third foul midway through the second quarter, Calvin scored 19 points in the first half as Hope Academy swelled its lead to 31-9.
With Calvin forced to the bench for the final five and a half minutes of the third quarter, St. Benedict (21-8) made its move as Williams led a 15-2 burst to pull within 44-41 to start the fourth quarter.
Thanks to 14-for-16 free-throw shooting in the fourth quarter, Hope Academy built a seemingly safe seven-point lead. Williams drilled a 25-footer from the top of the key and senior guard Israel Aragon (nine points) stole the inbounds ball and scored on a layup with four seconds remaining in regulation.
“Calvin was a monster out there,” Hope Academy coach Antwon Johnson said. “He’s been a beast the whole year, averaging 20 points and 14 rebounds, but he hasn’t gotten the recognition because of where our record has been this year.
“I’ve been on this team the whole year, and I think they really grew up tonight.’’
Junior guard Carson Hughs added 15 points for the Eagles.
Lamon Dawkins contributed 12 points and Tracis Vicere added 11 points for the Bengals. “We like to get up and down and run, but tonight, it took us a half to get out and play our game,” St. Benedict coach Tom Horn said. “I think at one point we were 4-of-20 from the floor in the first half and we showed a lot to get the game to overtime.”