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Emily Schramek-backed Benet takes down top-ranked Montini

There were a few worried looks on the Benet bench when Emily Eshoo exited the game late in the first quarter Monday with her team nursing a one-point lead against Montini in a semifinal of the Montini Christmas Tournament.

“I was a little worried about that because she’s such a good shooter against the zone that it kind of changes the complexion of our team,” Benet coach Joe Kilbride said. “She’s a really good defender who can match up on a lot of different kids and a handler against the pressure.

“So yeah, that had me a little worried.”

Kilbride need not have worried. He still had Emily Schramek on the floor.

Schramek poured in 24 points, including last-second 3-pointers to end the second and third quarters, Kathleen Doyle added 14 points and Eshoo returned to contribute 11 points as No. 7 Benet defeated No. 1 Montini 58-42.

Schramek’s 3-pointer to end the second quarter gave Benet (16-0) a 28-24 lead, and her shot from the arc to end the third extended a 37-31 lead to 10 points.

“I knew they were going to come out on me,” Schramek said. “In practice, I’ve been practicing my shot fake and going to the side because that’s harder to guard instead of going to the basket. I knew my coach had confidence in me and the same with my teammates.”

However, even Schramek was a little word with Eshoo on the bench for 10 minutes of the first half.

“That was a big deal not having her,” Schramek said. “Emily is such a big offensive threat. With her out, we all knew we had to step up. We played the most as a team and the most together we have all season. Everyone knew their role today and stepped up, and we accomplished something great.”

Benet continued to extend the lead in the fourth quarter, enjoying a 50-35 advantage with 4:28 remaining in the game on a long 3-pointer by Eshoo. Tiara Wallace scored 10 of her team-high 20 points in the fourth quarter to keep Montini close, but it wasn’t enough.

“Benet’s a really good team,” Montini coach Jason Nichols said. “I thought we had a lot of opportunities where we were not efficient. We were 5 of 16 from the free-throw line and late in the game that changes the way the game is played. There were things defensively we did not do and that’s why we lost the game.

Rainey Kuykendall added seven points and 10 rebounds for Montini (16-2).