Joe Henricksen’s 3-pointer: Benet’s season, sectional talk and Jeremiah Williams’ rise

Benet reached the 20-win marker for the 11th straight year under coach Gene Heidkamp.

SHARE Joe Henricksen’s 3-pointer: Benet’s season, sectional talk and Jeremiah Williams’ rise
Benet’s Jack Prock (15) cuts toward the basket as the Redwings play Danville in the opening game of the Pontiac Holiday Tournament.

Benet’s Jack Prock (15) cuts toward the basket as the Redwings play Danville in the opening game of the Pontiac Holiday Tournament.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

Benet reached the 20-win marker for the 11th straight year under coach Gene Heidkamp with a monster win over Notre Dame this past weekend. But it wasn’t easy.

For a program that’s averaged over 25 wins a year the previous 10 seasons, this 2019-2020 season has been much more of a grind to get to what has become an expected milestone. The Redwings have dealt with injuries and illness all season while playing a ridiculously strong schedule once again.

But the win over highly-ranked Notre Dame, arguably the best Class 3A team in the state, and competing against nationally-ranked prep school powerhouse La Lumiere out of Indiana over the weekend shows Benet’s vast potential. This team could be poised and ready for a potential Class 3A run.

That typical stingy Benet defense and a pair of seniors, big man Colin Crothers (14.5 ppg) and shooter Jack Prock (11.5 ppg), lead the way. But junior Tyler Van Eekeren stepped up with 16 points in the season-defining win over Notre Dame.

Benet should be a top three seed in the Hinsdale South Sectional, where the host school with 26 wins and 3A giant Bogan will join them.

Sectional talk

The sectionals will be seeded this week by high school coaches throughout the state.

Yes, the Lyons Sectional will be punishing. You feel for 25-win York which will have to contend with the three Public League giants at the top. Curie, Simeon and Young will hog up the top three seeds.

But as expected, the Bloom Sectional will be the deepest and strongest in the state.

There are already six teams with 20-plus wins in the sectional, headed by the top four powerhouses in the sectional –– Bloom (23-5), Thornton (26-1), Homewood-Flossmoor (22-3) and Marian Catholic (21-7). Then there is a Brother Rice team closing in on 20 wins after recently beating a pair of highly-ranked teams in Loyola and DePaul Prep.

Jeremiah Williams’ rise

Simeon’s Ahamad Bynum is hot. He’s a dynamic shot maker, though it can come at the expense of the team at times. But sometimes when you have a player who can do what Bynum is capable of doing, you have to extend a little extra leash and let him go get his 25 or 30 points.

The 6-1 junior guard scored 25 in the city semifinal win over Curie and poured in 22 points in the title game win over Morgan Park.

But Jeremiah Williams is playing terrific basketball, and it’s easy to see the impact he has on this Simeon team.

The 6-4 Williams is an absolute Swiss Army knife for the Wolverines. He can score the basketball when needed, handle the ball, rebound, block a shot, defend multiple positions with his length and agility and provide hustle plays.

What’s particularly puzzling is his recruitment. Williams has had and continues to receive some legit mid-major interest. But there should be more. This should be a high priority recruit for every mid-major to mid-major plus program with a scholarship open and a need for a perimeter player.

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