CHICAGO – Margaret Temple carried Benet’s supersectional plaque into a wild mosh pit of a celebration with student fans.
She was in tears as Benet ran off the court to the locker room.
The spectrum of emotions was fitting in a night of highs and lows for the Redwings’ senior guard.
Temple missed her first seven shot attempts Feb. 28. Her eighth helped send Benet to state.
Temple’s tying 3-pointer, with 2:37 left, was the biggest shot of the night in the game at Mother McAuley. The Redwings scored the last 12 points of the game to charge past Whitney Young, 44-37, and win the Class 4A Mother McAuley Supersectional.
Benet (30-3), advancing to state for the fourth time since 2015, plays Stevenson at 2:30 p.m. Friday at Redbird Arena.
“It’s a dream come true,” Temple said. “It’s my senior year. You want to live it out as much as you can. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I’ll remember it forever.”
Her shot was indeed unforgettable.
Lenee Beaumont drove the lane, kicking out to an open Temple on the right wing. Temple’s 3-pointer was nothing but net, tying it at 37-37. Temple, scoreless until the fourth quarter, had hit two free throws with 3:23 left to close Benet to within 37-34.
That set the stage for Temple’s big 3 that even she wasn’t sure about.
“I didn’t think it was going in because the rest of them didn’t, [but] it felt good,” Temple said. “The adrenalin in me was overwhelming. It was a little frustrating, but I just kept shooting hoping one of them would fall.”
Beaumont at times was the only girl on either side who could make a perimeter shot. She scored a game-high 23 points.
She had plenty of faith to pass off to Temple with the game on the line.
“I always have confidence in any one on our team,” Beaumont said. “We do shooting drills all the time. I knew eventually it was going to fall.”
Young (23-6) turned it over for the third time in four possessions after Temple’s shot, and Morgan Demos hit two free throws with 1:18 left to give Benet a 39-37 lead.
Benet, which missed 11 free throws in the fourth quarter of its sectional final win, was 9 for 10 from the line in the fourth quarter Feb. 28 and 14 for 16 for the game. Beaumont was 7 for 8 after missing six free throws in the previous game.
“I had to redeem myself after the Naperville North game,” Beaumont said. “We were there for 45 minutes before practice shooting free throws.”
Young came in with a 15-game winning streak and was playing for its first state appearance since 2016 in front of a huge crowd that included Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
The Dolphins went scoreless in the final 3:56 after two free throws from freshman guard Destiny Jackson had given them a 37-32 lead.
Young’s 37 points were a season low. Skylar Jones led the Dolphins with 12 points.
Young scored just five points in the fourth quarter, shooting 1 for 6 with five turnovers.
“Our defense has been really good since Geneva [Dec. 29],” said Benet coach Joe Kilbride, whose team has allowed just one opponent – Naperville North in the sectional final – to reach 50 points since December. “I thought our defense was really solid. And Temple is just a warrior.”
Indeed, while Temple’s shot was off she was making her presence felt defensively.
She held Jackson, an All-State candidate, to seven points, less than half her average coming in, with just one field goal.
“[Jackson] is a phenomenal player. Margaret guarded her, really guarded her,” Kilbride said. “She does that every game. She did it against [Naperville North’s Kenzie] Hare. I kept saying we’re going to make one shot when we needed it and that’s what happened.”
Beaumont scored 13 of her 23 points in the first half, helping Benet hang in there. The two teams were tied 17-17 at the half. Beaumont hit three 3s while Benet’s other players were 0 for 9 from beyond the arc in the first half.
“Today was a day that she needed to carry us,” Kilbride said. “Margaret made that one big shot and it changed everything.”
Demos added nine points, seven coming in the second half, and had five rebounds.
Beaumont attempted only two shots in the second half. Her second, a 3-pointer on Benet’s first possession of the fourth quarter, tied it 32-32.
“I wouldn’t say I put the team on my shoulders,” Beaumont said, “but I just know that if it helps the team I have to continue shooting.”
Source: The Daily Chronicle