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Hennessy and White lead Redwings past Wheaton South in season opener

With the frigid temperatures outside, the temperature inside Wheaton Warrenville South's Orange and Black gymnasium was quite comfortable, where on a rare Sunday non-conference battle, Benet Academy and coach Gene Heidkamp opened their 2021 season.

Behind senior guard Sam Hennessy and junior guard Brennan White the Redwings prevailed 42-29.

Wheaton Warrenville South (2-1) had picked up home wins over Naperville North and St. Joseph on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday at home again, the Tigers had an added advantage of a raucous, Tiger parents section of 30.

After one quarter Benet Academy (1-0) with four points from senior Tyler Van Eekeren (six points, eight rebounds) led 6-5.

"It's great to be playing basketball again and it's great to be 1-0," Van Eekeren said.

In the second quarter, senior Luke Nolan (six points, two 3's) buried a pair of threes and Hennessy nailed one for an 18-11 Benet Academy advantage at the half.

Leading 21-15 with five minutes remaining in the third quarter, a Van Eekeren put-back basket was followed by a pair of three point bombs from White and Hennessy. The 8-0 run opened up a 29-15 Redwing lead with four minutes in the third quarter.

White (10 points, two 3's) would go deep again in the quarter and Hennessy struck from beyond the arc to extend Benet's lead to 34-16 after three quarters.

"I was suffering from a little first-game jitters in the first half," White said. "My pair of third quarter, three-pointers really gave me confidence and I played well the rest of the game. It feels great to come here and win our first game. Joliet Catholic is a good team and we look forward to playing them in Joliet Tuesday night in our East Suburban Catholic Conference opener."

Big second halves from White and Hennessy, were the keys to victory No. 1.

White score all 10 of his points in the second half, while Hennessy scored 12 of his game-high 15 points after the break.

"It's really good to playing basketball games again," Hennessy said. "The roller-coaster ride of emotions we have gone through from no season to finally playing has been rough on all of us. It's great to come in here and be 1-0.

"Brennan (White) and I just played off of each other so well and that led both of us to have big second halves. Ben Romenesko set some great screens for us on the big threes."

"Our guard play was just outstanding tonight," Heidkamp said. "Brennan and Sam worked together so well on offense and to have only committed seven turnovers for the game against a physical Wheaton defense is a credit to our ball-handling skills.

"We also played great defense tonight. It's great to come in here and go to 1-0. Tuesday we start ESCC play at Joliet Catholic. Joliet Catholic has a lot of talent and we love old Joe (Joliet Catholic head coach Joe Gura)."


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