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March Madness: Benet Style

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March Madness: Benet Style

Caitlyn Allen '19

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This year March Madness has kept everyone on their toes. From the NCAA to IHSA the underdogs have proven that nothing can be taken for granted. Benet Academy’s varsity boys basketball team was considered an underdog this year and made it all the way to the State Championship.  After being eliminated last year by York High School in the regional finals, Benet decided it was their year as they bumped off their rivals York and nationally ranked Simeon High School to make it to the IHSA State Championship game.

The State Championship game was a showdown between Benet and Currie Metro High School. Benet led Currie the entire first half and a majority of the third quarter. Currie was able to fight back and make it a 1 point game with 1:40 left in the third. By the end of the third quarter, Currie was leading Benet 39-34. Benet was not able to get their lead back, being down by some 15 points at one point in the fourth quarter. Unable to play their usual game of shut down defense and poised offense in the fourth quarter, Benet lost to Currie 65-59.

Although the boys did not win the championship game, Coach Gene Heidkamp was very proud of his varsity team. York and Simeon both had players that outweighed and outsized his starters and Simeon had several players who will be playing Division 1 college basketball next year. When Coach Heidkamp was asked about defeating these tougher playoff opponents and how he thinks they were able to beat the, he replied that they were able to beat both teams because of their unselfishness. Their unselfish offense, shut down defense, and poised composure led them to their victories. When asked about the Currie game, he said, “[in the fourth quarter] “…everything that could go wrong, did.”

Regarding the players on his team, Coach Heidkamp was proud of everyone for stepping up when they needed to and for contributing in their own way. This year’s varsity team consisted of 10 seniors and 9 underclassmen. The starters on his team were Dave Sobolewski, Jack Nolan, Liam Lyman, James Dockery, and Jason Malonga. His sixth man was Justin Enochs. When asked about his favorite memory this season. Coach Heidkamp said there were too many to pick from but making it downstate and beating Simeon were definitely two that stand out.

Lastly, when asked if there was anything he wanted his seniors and other players to know. Coach Heidkamp replied that they should all be proud of themselves because he certainly was. There were no expectations for them to make it as far as they did and they were so close to winning it all. The way they play speaks to their character. The players have grown on and off the court throughout the course of their time at Benet. Even though they didn’t win the championship, he couldn’t be more proud of the team.

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March Madness: Benet Style