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updated: 2/25/2010 6:12 AM

Benet Redwings claim first title since 1995

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Perfection isn't easy.

Benet's boys basketball team, however, proved it's not impossible.

Grinding through a brutal schedule - especially the last few weeks - the Redwings somehow emerged unbeaten in the East Suburban Catholic Conference to claim their first title since 1995.

Wednesday's 54-46 win over Notre Dame in Niles sealed the outright championship for Benet (22-3, 13-0), which broke St. Joseph's six-year stranglehold on the top spot by winning its 12th straight game.

The Redwings notched their third straight ESCC road win, the last two being especially tough. After shocking St. Joseph on Saturday, Benet trailed the Dons only once at 10-9 late in the first quarter.

A 13-0 run quickly put Benet back on top to stay.

By beating three likely 20-win teams a total of four times, the Redwings earned every bit the ESCC title. Running the table just makes it sweeter.

"We like playing the tough teams," said Benet junior Dave Sobolewski, who led the balanced Redwings with 15 points. "We'll play anyone that wants to play us on any given day. We've got a great group of guys in the locker room here, and we've got so much confidence going into the state tournament."

Benet held about a double-digit lead for much of the final three quarters, but a 9-1 run by the Dons (18-9, 9-4) pulled them within 39-37 on Shawn Wallace's bucket with 5 minutes, 30 seconds left in the game.

The Redwings answered with 8 straight points to boost the margin back to 47-37, starting with a huge 3-pointer by junior Matt Parisi.

"We're a pretty mentally tough team and when we put our mind to it, especially on defense, we can win some games," said Parisi, who scored 13 points.

Sobolewski scored 10 points in the third quarter, countering Notre Dame's Quinton Chievous, who scored 10 of his 14 points in the quarter. Six-foot-10 Benet junior Frank Kaminsky had another big night on the boards, grabbing 13 rebounds to go along with 11 points.

After only three players scored in Saturday's win over St. Joseph, seven Redwings players scored against the Dons, including Dylan Flood's 8 points.

This was a team win, capping a team championship.

"Our kids have played tough basketball all year, and I think they played the same way tonight," said Benet coach Gene Heidkamp. "We have some featured players but what makes us a good team is our role players step up and do their jobs unselfishly. That helps us be the team that we are."