Big brothers give Hornets a push
Barret Benson (middle) of Hinsdale South is surrounded b y Oswego East defenders. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media ORG XMIT: firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated: March 5, 2013 3:41PM
When Hinsdale South freshman Barret Benson felt a bit overwhelmed during his first varsity game this season, he knew just who to call — big brother Brock.
“I was really nervous after the first game,” Benson said. “I just called him to talk about it. He told me to just calm down. I took his advice and used it to my advantage.”
Benson is not the only Hinsdale South player following in his brother’s footsteps.
Seniors Justin Ward and Joe George and junior Antanas Riskus also had brothers who played for the Hornets.
Brock Benson and Paul Riskus are two of the best players to come out of the program. Riskus went on to play at the University of Chicago, while Brock Benson is averaging 6.0 points and 3.5 rebounds as a freshman at Hope College in Holland, Mich. As a Hornet senior, he averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds last year.
“I use it as motivation,” Antanas Riskus said of following his brother. “He was always bigger than me, but I’m more athletic than him. At home, we have one-on-one games. I beat him sometimes.”
Hinsdale South coach Tanner Mitchell believes Benson and Riskus have handled the expectations just fine.
“I think those two kids kind of like having that little bit of extra pressure,” Mitchell said. “They’re gamers. Barret has just gotten better and better and better as the year’s gone on. He really ended the last six or seven games doing well. (Riskus’) strength and his hustle and his rebounding really help us out. That’s something we’re going to need from him next year.”
Benson averaged seven points and six rebounds this season, but came on strong down the stretch. He scored in double digits in five of the team’s last six games and reached double figures in rebounds in three of those contests.
He credits his older sibling with helping pave the way for him, but admits they are competitive.
“It’s just like a sibling rivalry all the time,” Benson said. “I’m just competing to be the best Benson I can be. It’s just another challenge to help me become better.”
Hinsdale South (7-19) saw its season come to a close Monday, losing to Oswego East 64-52 in the Class 4A Oswego East Regional quarterfinal.
Senior Jerry Stoltz paced the Hornets with 14 points in the season-ending loss.
“It’s always tough to play your last game, but we played hard,” Stoltz said. “It’s not like we went down not fighting. I’m proud of our guys. I was trying to push and push as much as I could for my team. I wanted to play another game. I don’t want to be done with this whole high school basketball thing, but it is what it is. You have to move on.”
In addition to Stoltz, the Hornets will graduate Evan Leake, Ward, D.J. Deolitsis, George, Pierre Andresen and Matt Reschke.
“Your first group is always a special class,” Mitchell said. “This is my first year as the head coach and I’ll always remember these seniors. All these guys had great effort all year and were good kids. It’s always tough (losing seniors), but I think we have a real good nucleus coming back and we have a good sophomore class. I’m excited about the future of our program.”