- Scott Powers, Reporter
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CHICAGO -- There’s a new No. 1.
In a game that lived up to every ounce of hype, No. 2 Benet defeated No. 1 Simeon 58-54 in the City-Suburban Showdown before 8,184 fans at UIC Pavilion on Saturday.
Simeon (23-2) had been the area’s top-ranked team since the opening day of the season, and it didn’t go down without a fight. It wasn’t until Benet’s Matt Parisi sank two free throws with 3.5 seconds left that Simeon was overtaken.
A season ago, Simeon defeated Benet in double overtime of the Hinsdale Central supersectional.
“I’m going to be honest with you,” Simeon coach Robert Smith said. “They’re the best team. They’re the best team in the state of Illinois right now.”
Benet’s fans, which made up of the bulk of the arena, erupted in cheers when the Redwings’ win was finalized. The players ran into their locker room, shouting in celebration, but came out more reserved.
“It’s a great honor to be No. 1, but you still have to play the games,” Benet senior Frank Kaminsky said.
Benet is the No. 1 team right now, and there might not be a better combo than Kaminsky and his running mate David Sobolewski. Sobolewski, a Northwestern recruit, and Kaminsky, a Wisconsin recruit, took turns pushing the Redwings (26-0) forward.
Sobolewski struck early, scoring eight first-quarter points to put Benet ahead 16-6. He would finish with 15 points and five assists.
Later, it was Kaminsky who came through. Although he has struggled from deep this season, he sank two clutch two 3-pointers in the third quarter. He finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and five blocks.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Benet coach Gene Heidkamp said. “They all stepped up and did what they had to for us.”
Simeon’s own star, sophomore Jabari Parker, did everything he could to keep the Wolverines in the game. He scored a game-high 21 points, grabbed five rebounds, dished out two steals and had two steals.
“He was the one person we thought they didn’t have an answer for,” Smith said of Parker.
Heidkamp was impressed.
“He’s one of the best I’ve seen in some time,” Heidkamp said.
Pat Boyle (10 points) and Pat McInerney (nine points) also helped Benet in the win.
Rashawn McElrath (nine points, eight rebounds) and Darien Walker (seven points) contributed for Simeon.
No. 12 Morgan Park 57, Rock Island 54: In a matchup of Morgan Park’s Wayne Blackshear, a Louisville recruit, and Rock Island’s Chasson Randle, a Stanford recruit, Blackshear and the Mustangs came out on top in the event’s second game.
Blackshear scored a game-high 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for Morgan Park (18-5). Randle finished with 13 points, eight rebounds and three assists for Rock Island (23-3).
No. 13 Lyons 55, No. 7 Proviso East 53: In the event’s first game, Lyons forward Spencer Mahoney scored the game-winner on a layup with 3.2 seconds remaining.
Dylan Fiedler (14 points), Eric Powers (13 points), Nick Zeisloft (11 points) and Mahoney (11 points) all scored in double figures for Lyons (22-2).
The loss was the second of the weekend for Proviso East (19-5). The Pirates also lost to Downers Grove South on Friday. Against Lyons, they were led by Sterling Brown (14 points) and Trashaun Carroll (12 points, eight rebounds).
No. 2 Benet stayed unbeaten with a win over No. 1 Simeon on Saturday.