Pontiac Holiday Tournament: Benet showcases its depth in first-round win against Oak Park

Patrick Walsh and Sam Driscoll provided a huge lift off the bench in the second quarter.

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Benet’s Sam Driscoll (1) slashes through the lane to score against Oak Park.

Benet’s Sam Driscoll (1) slashes through the lane to score against Oak Park.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

PONTIAC—Benet seniors Niko Abusara and Brayden Fagbemi can both score, but they also have an extra ability rare in a high school player: that knack of seeing a few steps ahead of everyone else to create easy or open shot opportunities for their teammates.

The No. 7 Redwings started a little slow in their 78-56 win against Oak Park in the first round of the 91st Pontiac Holiday Tournament on Wednesday. Patrick Walsh (15 points) and Sam Driscoll (18 points) provided a huge lift off the bench in the second quarter.

Turns out Abusara, Fagbemi and fellow senior Brady Kunka were key to that lift.

“The passing of Niko and Brayden makes it easy,” Driscoll said. “They are great playmakers and Brady consumes so much of the defense’s attention. We were able to come in and take open shots.”

The Redwings took control of the game with a 19-0 run in the second quarter.

“[Driscoll and Walsh] really stepped up,” Benet coach Gene Heidkamp said. “We know those guys can play and we have depth on our team. It’s kind of a well-kept secret.”

Fagbemi led Benet with 15 points, seven assists and seven rebounds. Kunka added 16 points and five rebounds.

Very few teams managed to play games last week due to the weather. Benet, which was in Arizona, picked up three wins. But the trip home was chaotic.

“We had to leave a day early and get everyone home on four different flights,” Heidkamp said. “But it was beneficial for our team overall.”

“Arizona was awesome,” Driscoll said. “We played some great teams and it helped us grow.”

Christian Marshall led Oak Park (3-7) with 16 points and big man Alex Vincent added 11. Promising sophomore Justen Bowen scored 10.

Benet will face Bloom in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

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