Beaumont's dazzling performance sends Benet past Waubonsie Valley to sectional title
Lenee Beaumont was so full of adrenaline for Thursday's playoff game that she could not sleep the night before.
She finally dozed off watching game film.
The Benet senior guard's film study continued into Thursday at school, which apparently is not an outlier for the Indiana commit.
"Any of my teachers would know, I do not pay attention in class on game day because I'm watching film," Beaumont said with a smile. "My AP Econ teacher was here tonight and he caught me watching film and was like 'I understand.'"
All of that study translated to one of the signature games of Beaumont's illustrious career.
Whether it was off-balance spin shots in the lane, tough rebounds in traffic or no-look passes, she willed Benet forward with a dazzling performance. Beaumont scored 21 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and had four assists as the top-seeded Redwings beat sixth-seeded Waubonsie Valley 58-47 in the Class 4A West Aurora Sectional final.
It's the sixth sectional title since 2015 for Benet (23-7), which advanced to face Kenwood in Monday's supersectional at Hinsdale Central.
Beaumont put a slight scare in Benet coach Joe Kilbride when she made a funny face at halftime, and told her coach she had hurt her knee late in the first half.
But Beaumont said the knee was no big deal. Beaumont's performance? A big deal.
"She was very good today," Kilbride said, "and we needed her to be very good."
She was at her best in a pivotal stretch out of halftime.
Beaumont twice followed her own miss, the second time triggering a 9-0 run early in the third quarter that allowed Benet to gain separation ahead 43-31. The 6-foot junior guard, who made her first six shots, was a force on the glass and made a number of spinning shots in the lane, which led her coach to make a bold statement about his point guard.
"Honestly, you can make the argument that she's the best post player in Illinois, and she's playing point guard," Kilbride said. "Waubonsie is very good, but they don't have a lot of size. We knew going in that Sam [Trimberger] and Beau could get stuff at the rim, and they did."
Indeed, Trimberger put up her second straight double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds, 12 of her points coming in the second half. Together with Beaumont, they led Benet's commanding 35-17 edge on the glass.
And Trimberger was on the receiving end of three spectacular no-look passes from Beaumont for layups, the first two on successive plays to end the 9-0 run.
"With me, I always got to be ready for those," Trimberger said. "I have learned to always be ready with Lenee. You never know with some of her passes."
Passes that, to no surprise, Beaumont has learned from film study.
"Honestly, it's from watching film of [WNBA star] Courtney VanderSloot," Beaumont said. "I can watch her all day."
Waubonsie (24-8), playing in its first sectional final since 2010, came out hot from beyond the 3-point line. Hannah Laub scored 11 of her team-high 20 points in the first quarter, and hit three of the Warriors' five 3s for a 17-15 lead after the first eight minutes.
The Waubonsie junior tore the ACL and MCL in her knee last May, but returned in mid-January. She was at her shot-making best Thursday, hitting a tough turnaround jumper, banking in a 3 and hitting a step-back shot from beyond the arc. Led by Laub, Waubonsie made 7 of 14 3s in the first half to only trail 32-28 at the break.
"She was locked in, she was ready to go all day. Shootaround, she was making a lot of shots," Waubonsie coach Brett Love said. "She's just a player."
But the Warriors' shooting cooled off after the break as they shot just 4 of 16 on 3s after halftime. And Beaumont stayed warm, even taking a charge in the latter seconds of the third quarter.
Was this Beaumont's best-ever performance? Trimberger wouldn't argue against it.
"There was a bunch of spins and shots that she made - they're just crazy shots to make and also amazing passes," Trimberger said.
Freshman Danyella Mporokoso added 13 points for Waubonsie, which won 24 games and reached a sectional final even after graduating nine seniors from last year's team that lost to Benet in a sectional semifinal.
"We knew what we needed to do - limit [Benet] to one shot, box out - they're a good team. They constantly move, they're aggressive. If you take a break and fall asleep they'll make you pay for it," Love said. "I'm proud of my girls. To be where we are, we had a lot of new faces, proud of them."