Benet holds Naz to 25 points in ESCC victory

Benet was nothing if not economical on Tuesday in East Suburban Catholic Conference play.

Nazareth was offensively as deliberate as possible as the Redwings' man-to-man defense was ever noticeable in the schools' latest boys basketball game.

Benet held the Roadrunners to single-digit first-half production and broke free after the intermission to secure a 41-25 victory in Lisle.

Benet lead 13-8 at halftime as the opening Nazareth possession was emblematic of what was to transpire. The Roadrunners milked 40 seconds off the clock before a Benet theft rendered the Nazareth trip fruitless.

Dom Trelenberg and Jacob Eraci had two field goals each to account for the entire Roadrunner first-half output.

"That's what's best for us," Nazareth coach Sean Pearson said. "We want to get the best shot, not the first shot."

Benet was not necessarily impatient on offense as a result, but the Redwings were left in an anomalous position of attempting as many field goals as points scored in the tactical opening two quarters.

"We settled for jump shots," Benet coach Gene Heidkamp said.

But the Redwings' Brennan White and Luke Nolan connected on jumpers from beyond the arc.

The only points the former would score provided Benet a lead early in the second quarter never to be surrendered.

Nazareth (1-7, 0-5) misfired on all 11 of its 3-point attempts.

White and Van Eekeren would spearhead the Redwings' third-quarter assault with their interchangeable backcourt play. Running the half-court offense with intelligence and grace, the Benet players cut and slashed in military-like precision.

Converting 7 of their first 8 shots, Benet more than duplicated its first-half total offense.

Nolan and Van Eekeren were the only players in double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Benet (5-1, 3-0) was not only well on its way to remaining undefeated in league play but also adamant to reply in stern fashion to an unacceptable poor offensive showing in its weekend loss to Naperville North.

"On defense we really played well in the second half," Nolan said. "I think we came out a little flat (offensively). (Heidkamp) said we were standing a lot."

The Redwings' motion unquestionably altered the game as their lead swelled to 30-12 late in the third.

"The biggest thing was everyone was cutting and getting scores," Van Eekeren said of the Redwings' barrage of point-blank scores in the third. Carson Diehl added eight for Benet.

Trelenberg led Nazareth with 9 points; Eraci finished with eight.

"We are seeing progress," Pearson said. "We have six or seven freshmen and sophomores on varsity."

The Roadrunners were also hurt by football moving to the spring.

"We were able to speed the ball up," Heidkamp said.

"Our key is getting it inside," Nolan said. "That leads to more makes on the outside."

Benet's Tyler Van Eekeren goes up for a shot Tuesday against Nazareth in Lisle. Sandy Bressner/
Benet's Tyler Van Eekeren grabs a ball while holding back Nazareth defender Dominic Trelenberg during a game at Benet on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. Sandy Bressner/
Benet's Sam Hennessy drives toward the basket during a game against Nazareth at Benet on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. Sandy Bressner/
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