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Benet’s Colin Bonnett bests St. Charles North, Jake Ludwig

PONTIAC, Ill. — Benet’s Colin Bonnett and St. Charles North’s Jake Ludwig were the straws that stirred the drinks in Wednesday’s first semifinal game at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament.

The Redwings and North Stars are both well-coached, talented teams. But their two star players shoulder a massive amount of responsibility for their success.

“Yeah, I’ve been playing him in games like that since fifth grade,” Bonnett said. “That’s the way it always seemed to be, it isn’t a new thing. And he usually won.”

Bonnett and Benet squeaked out a 41-40 victory this time, sending the Redwings into an unexpected berth in the title game.

“I don’t know if people expected much out of us this year,” Benet coach Gene Heidkamp said. “We lost four of our five starters. But we’ve developed an identity.”

Ludwig made two free throws with 1:01 to play to give St. Charles North a 40-38 lead. Bonnett responded on the other end, driving the baseline, scoring and drawing a foul. He made the free throw to put the Redwings ahead 41-40.

“I saw (the defender) turn his head for just a second so I went,” said Bonnett.

Ludwig had a chance to win the game for St. Charles North (8-5). He drove to the basket, picked up some heavy contact, and missed. No foul, Benet ball. The Redwings inbounded the ball to seal the win.

Bonnett finished with 19 points. He’s clearly been one of the top players in the tournament.

“There isn’t a whole lot going on with (recruiting) honestly,” Bonnett said. “I’ve had some Division II and III schools interested.”

Dan Sobolewski added 13 points. He drained two three-pointers to open the fourth quarter that turned a 31-29 St. Charles North lead into a three-point deficit. Benet (9-2) never trailed again.

Ludwig led the North Stars with 15 points. Sophomore Griffin Hammer added eight points and six rebounds and Jack Callaghan scored seven.

Benet will face Simeon in the title game tonight.