Benet's boys basketball team wants to make it a two-horse race in the East Suburban Catholic Conference.
The Redwings just might have done it with Friday's 49-47 win over St. Patrick in Lisle.
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The hard-fought victory keeps Benet (17-3, 9-0) atop the ESCC standings with St. Joseph while the third-place Shamrocks (13-7, 7-3) fall three games off the pace.
"This game was huge in terms of the race in the conference," said Benet junior Matt Parisi. "This pretty much assures us that it's just us and Joe's, so we had to win this one."
Benet looked on the verge of blowing the game open at times in the first half, but St. Patrick kept rallying. The Shamrocks eventually took their first and only lead on the first basket of the fourth quarter, a Michael Johnson layup that made it 35-34.
Parisi, however, nailed a pair of 3-pointers and Dylan Flood added 2 free throws as the Redwings quickly reclaimed a 42-37 lead. St. Patrick pulled within 2 points three times in the final 25 seconds, including at the buzzer, but Frank Kaminsky and Dave Sobolewski sank 4 free throws to seal the win.
Kaminsky had 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Sobolewski dished 8 assists in addition to his 7 points. Flood and Parisi, who hit four 3-pointers, both scored 12 points.
Kortney Darby scored 6 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter for the Shamrocks, who trailed by as many as 10 points in the first quarter.
"We knew we had to win this game and sweep Pat's," said Kaminsky, referring to Benet's 41-27 win on Dec. 4 in Chicago. "It gives us a lot of momentum, keeps us playing hard."