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Darshan Thomas and Marist feel sorry for Benet

of Marist Darshan Thomas he remembers the game vividly.

In December, the senior forward had a chance to score the winning basket against Benet in Lisle.

He missed. And that’s not all.

“I missed that shot, I didn’t go for the rebound and we ended up losing by one,” Thomas said. “I never forgot that. “When I heard the name ‘Benet’ that shot always came to mind.”

His hearing improved.

Thomas had another chance at a potential win Friday night with a 3-pointer right in front of the Marist bench, but he missed the target again.

But this time he grabbed the rebound and hit a 10-footer with 1.3 seconds left to give the RedHawks a 65-64 East Suburban Catholic Conference victory at Mount Greenwood.

Stephen Brown He led Marist (21-4, 9-2) with 20 points. T.J. Tate with 14, Adoni Vasilakis with 12, Marquis Vance with 11 and Thomas with nine.

Benet (20-4, 10-1), ranked No. 5 in the state in Class 4A by the Associated Press, was pursued by sophomore guard Gabe Sularski With 26 points. Daniel Pauliukonis 13 added.

For Thomas, it was a 180-degree turn following a 62-61 defeat at Benet on Dec. 15.

“When I missed that shot, instead of sulking, I went after it and said ‘not again,'” Thomas said. “I could do two things; I could stand back and sit in the chairs and watch my shots miss, or I could say, ‘Okay, this is happening and I’m going to go get it and give it a second shot.’ I could say. ”

“I’m so happy for him, man,” Tate said. “He was expecting it. When he missed and got the ball again, I knew the ball was going to go in.”

Marist’s TJ Tate sets up a shot against Benet during an East Suburban Catholic Conference game Friday, Feb. 2, 2024, in Chicago. (Jeff Vorva/Daily Southtown)

Marist coach Brian Hynes He was also happy that Thomas made up for the first game in such dramatic fashion. After the final whistle, RedHawks fans stormed the field.

Hynes said of Thomas: “When we first played Benet, she took it upon herself that she had lost the play and was a wreck.” “I think it was a great show of courage for him to ask for the ball at the end.”

Thomas even brought up the shot he missed before Friday’s game.

“Coach Hynes had me give a pregame speech,” he said. “I started my speech by talking about that shot and said, ‘I never want to feel like that again.’

“I had to give it my all. Even if I didn’t concede a goal the whole match, I still had to be there for my teammates.”

Thomas could not score in the first half because his shots were inaccurate. He also missed a pair of free throws in the closing minutes.

But the important thing is he made the shot. And he wasn’t 100% satisfied with his performance.

“Of course I’ll remember the winning shot,” Thomas said. “But missed shots are something I need to improve on, otherwise we wouldn’t be in this situation.”

Marist's Adoni Vassilakis prepares to go in against Benet during an East Suburban Catholic Conference game Friday, Feb. 2, 2024, in Chicago.  (Jeff Vorva/Daily Southtown)
Marist’s Adoni Vassilakis prepares to go in against Benet during an East Suburban Catholic Conference game Friday, Feb. 2, 2024, in Chicago. (Jeff Vorva/Daily Southtown)

Two classic games between conference rivals this season. And if players from both teams stay put for the next few years, this would be just the beginning.

Marist has six sophomores and four juniors on its roster. Benet has four sophomores and eight juniors. Some of the key players on both sides are underclassmen.

“I saw Gabe and I told him after the game, ‘Oh my God, I don’t think I can do this with you for another two years,'” Hynes said. “They’re so talented. I wish they could all graduate.”

Thomas will graduate after this season, but he’s full of confidence in his future at Marist after what he saw Friday night.

“This name will not be forgotten for a while,” Thomas said. “They’re going to be the best team in the state. Personally, I think we are right now.”

Jeff Vorva is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.

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