When most opponents scouted the Benet girls basketball team, they saw the frantic pace the Redwings play and figured the best way to defeat them was to slow the game down.
The Raiders also play at a fast pace and when they play it well, can play it with the best teams.
Unfortunately for Bolingbrook, it did not play its best out of the gate and fell 85-66 to Benet in the Oswego East Sectional semifinal.
“Benet played the style that they wanted to play and it was the style that we wanted to play as well,” said Bolingbrook coach Chris Smith. “I really believe in my heart of hearts that the majority of those turnovers were unforced turnovers by us, they were just bad decisions on us. But, when you play a team as good as Benet is, you can’t make those kind of mistakes.
“It was no different than the game when we beat HF when we played an up and down game and it was going to be a matter of who could limit the turnovers.”
Bolingbrook, unfortunately, did not limit the turnovers. Those early turnovers helped Benet get out to a 16-6 lead after the first quarter.
“We had 16 turnovers in the first half and a lot of them were early and that 10 points they were up at the end of the first half was a big difference in the game,” Smith said.
With the exception of a small stretch in the third quarter, the Raiders (15-12) battled Benet better the last three periods.
“In the next three quarters, if you break it down, it was a much more competitive game,” Smith said. “It is just hard to make up that 10 point difference when you have a team as good as Benet.”
Bennita Drain led Bolingbrook with 16 points, Brittney Patrick added 13 and Karli Seay had 12.
Benet (30-3) was paced by Emily Schramek, who tallied 16 of her team-high 22 points in the second half, Kathleen Doyle had 20 points, while Emily Eshoo and Elise Stout both scored 16.
For the Raiders, however, the season was a successful one – as they claimed a regional title and saw the team progress nicely from the first game of the season to the last.
“We played much better at the end of season and truth be told, I don’t know how many teams wanted to play us,” Smith said. “(The regional title) was good to get that and grow from that and now it is time to get back to where Bolingbrook was and the tradition it has had over the last 15 years.”
Not only did the Raiders grow during the season, but took a big step in the advancement of the program, now in the second year under Smith.
“We have 35 wins over the first two seasons and we are seeing where the program is going,” Smith said. “Just getting the new style and the new culture in takes time. That is a great thing about the administration at Bolingbrook – they understood it was going to be a change and it was a new era.”