Simeon’s Jabari Parker showed why he might be most electric player to watch in Illinois Saturday night at the City-Suburban Showdown at the UIC Pavilion, but Benet showed why they might be the state’s best team.
Redwings senior center Frank Kaminsky filled out the stat sheet with 19 points, 10 rebounds, five blocks, and four assists in leading the Redwings (26-0) to a 58-54 win in front of an announced crowd of 8,184 on Chicago’s West Side. Senior point guard David Sobolewski had 15 points and five assists in a rematch of a 2010 Super Sectional game won by Simeon.
Parker, the Wolverines sophomore* phenom, scored in every possible way—post-ups, three-pointers, hellacious dunks—en route to 21 points. Six-foot-one senior Benet forward Pat Boyle did most of the defensive work on the 6-foot-7 Parker.
“He’s obviously a really good player,” Boyle said. “We played with a lot of good help-side defense and we were able to contain him. We practiced all week against their sets and we were for everything they did.”
Boyle also scored 10 points and made two big fourth-quarter free throws that gave the Redwings a four-point lead with 11.5 seconds left. Sophomore forward Pat McInerney chipped in nine points for Benet and junior guard Matt Parisi tallied five.
Head coach Gene Heidkamp played seven players Saturday. Simeon, meanwhile, went 10-deep. Heidkamp put a positive spin on his team’s perceived lack of depth.
“Try getting these guys out of the game when it’s a close game,” the coach said. “It’s something people talked about being a disadvantage for us but I never really looked at it that way.”
Parker was Simeon’s only double-digit scorer. Senior post-man Rashawn McElrath had nine points and eight rebounds. Senior guard Darien Walker had seven points and senior forward Ahman Fells had six.
The Redwings jumped out to a 16-6 lead midway through the first quarter to the roar of the Benet-biased crowd. Simeon then went on a 14-3 run to take a 20-19 lead and led 28-24 at halftime.
The third quarter belonged to Benet, who outscored Simeon 20-12. The Redwings went 6-of-10 from the field while holding the Wolverines to 3-of-8 and forcing three turnovers. With a 44-40 lead after three quarters, the Redwings made three of four field goals, all eight of their free throws, and never surrendered the lead.
“We’ve been looking forward to this game since our schedule came out,” Sobolewski said. “This game finally got here, we had a good week of practice, and it was everything we hoped it would be.”
Simeon (23-2) outrebounded the Redwings 33-23 overall and 19-7 on the offensive glass, but most of that difference was accrued in the first half.
“It feels like there’s more people rebounding out there with three 6-foot-7 kids,” Kaminsky said.
Heidkamp said he told his team at halftime they would get blown out if they didn’t rebound better. The Wolverines only held a 10-9 advantage in the second half.
“We were much better on the glass,” Heidkamp said. “We did a much better job of defensive rebounding in the second half.”
The only team standing between Benet and a perfect regular season is an away game versus St. Viator Wednesday night at 7 p.m. The playoffs begin with the IHSA Regionals on Feb. 28.
Correction: Jabari Parker is a sophomore at Simeon. The writer incorrectly stated he was a senior. He will graduate in the class of 2013.