Benet Academy girls basketball pulls away from Neuqua Valley in second half of sectional semifinal

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Benet Academy girls basketball uses big second half to defeat Neuqua Valley to move onto the sectional final. This highlight is sponsored by BMO Harris Bank.

The girls basketball sectional semifinal round is here with Benet Academy hoping to make another trip to the West Aurora sectional finals while Neuqua Valley enters this matchup fresh off the program’s first regional championship since 2016.

Sam Trimberger dominates in the opening quarter

The Wildcats show early on that they want anybody but Lenee Beaumont to beat them, brining out the traps and double teams to slow the Indiana recruit. Emilia Sularski banks in the first shot of the game on a wide open look.

Neuqua needs everyone to step up to pull the upset, senior captain Tia Poulakidas hits the midrange turnaround jumper. Wildcats trail 6-3 in the opening minutes.

The Redwings move the ball well as Sularski finds senior Sam Trimberger in the paint. She gets the basket and the foul as the Wings go up 15-3.

Neuqua Valley defense leads comeback charge

Neuqua Valley gets out in transition and Caitlin Washington glides towards the hoop for the layup as the Wildcats turn defense into offense.

Nice ball movement here from the blue and gold as Nalia Clifford finds Zoe Navarro for three. Neuqua down 15-8.

Final moments of the first quarter, Bridget Rifenburg nearly gets the steal for Benet, but Navarro gets the ball back and hits the pull up triple from the top of the key. An 8-0 Neuqua run puts the Cats down only 15-11 after one.

A back and forth second quarter

Early in the second quarter, Beaumont rises up and hits the jumper despite the double team. Redwings go back up by six.

Sam Trimberger continues to dominate down low, Beaumont drives and finds her fellow senior for the layup and the foul. 13 points in the first half for Trimberger.

Later in the quarter, after a Sadie Sterbenz offensive rebound, Lindsay Harzich buries the three from the corner. Benet takes a 24-17 lead into halftime.

Benet turns up the heat in the third quarter

Early in the second half, the DVC champions continue to claw back into the game. Freshman Nalia Clifford sinks the three and it’s just a two point game.

Caitlin Washington tries a three, but Lenee Beaumont shows off the full skill set, grabbing the rebound and taking the ball behind her back as she darts in for the contested layup to keep Benet in front.

Later in the quarter, Beaumont misses the short jumper, but Trimberger steps up once again with two more of her team high 20 points to extend the Redwing advantage.

Benet clicking on both ends now as Beaumont pulls up and buries this long range three pointer. 15 on the night for the All-State guard as the lead is pushed to 12.

Redwings pull away to advance to sectional championship

In the fourth quarter, Neuqua finally gets the half court offense going. Caitlin Washington hits this three pointer. 11 points for the junior but the Wildcats still trail by double digits.

Wildcats unable to force enough turnovers in the second half, but senior Tia Poulakidas still battling to the end as she gets three of her eight points here. Benet still leads 52-34.

The Redwings pull away for good late in the second half, Sadie Sterbenz finds a cutting Maggie Sularski for a layup as Benet heads back to the sectional championship for an eighth consecutive season with a 60-43 win over Neuqua Valley. A great year for the Wildcats comes to a close.

For more prep sports highlights, visit the Naperville Sports Weekly page!