AURORA – As quarters go, the first for the Wheaton Academy boys basketball team couldn’t have gone much worse Friday night against Marmion.
Ten turnovers and three Gordon Behr fouls put the Warriors in a 27-14 hole after the first eight minutes.
It was the next eight minutes that ultimately decided the game, as Wheaton Academy dusted itself off, outscoring the Cadets 28-11 on their way to a 73-58 Suburban Christian Blue victory.
Despite the slow start to the contest, Wheaton Academy (8-1, 3-0) never panicked as Behr was glued to the bench for much of the first half.
“We’ve been trying to work on not coming out flat. We had too many turnovers and were frustrated,” Wheaton Academy guard Gabe Partain said. “We had no communication on the floor and guys weren’t talking. We knew we had to fix it and we fixed it, and it showed up in the score.”
Tenacious full-court pressure by Marmion (3-5, 1-2) produced an 8-0 lead right off the bat as Wheaton Academy was having a hard time advancing the ball past half court.
The early surge for Marmion culminated in junior Tyler Maryanski throwing down a devastating two-hand alley-oop dunk that sent the Cadets’ student section into a frenzy.
The Cadets led by as many as 12 points in the first quarter but were unable to sustain their full-court pressure for long.
The Warriors’ turnovers that ignited the first quarter Marmion spurt, disappeared and so did the Cadets’ lead as Wheaton Academy outscored Marmion by 17 points in the second quarter.
“That’s as fun a first quarter that we’ve been in in a long time,” Marmion coach Ryan Paradise said. “We kind of ran out of gas late in the second quarter. When they started making their comeback, they made 19 of 25 at the free throw line and we missed 10. With them hitting all theirs and us missing all of ours, that was pretty much the ballgame.”
The strong second quarter provided the Warriors a 42-38 lead at the break. Behr was relegated to the bench again early in the third after he picked up his fourth foul.
Minus Behr, Wheaton Academy turned a one-possession game into a double-digit advantage after back-to-back 3s from Collin Roy and Josh Ruggles made it 56-44.
“The guys have to step up when Gordon is out,” Roy said. “We came out and adjusted pretty well. We just wanted to run some more offense that we’ve been working on in practice. Once we did that, we started scoring more.”
Maryanksi, who has been a revelation for Paradise, was recently inserted into the starting lineup and has produced offensively for Marmion. The junior, who led the Cadets with 19 points, knocked down two free throws that cut the lead to 61-53 with 4:53 to go in the fourth quarter.
But the Warriors went 12-12 from the line – including 6 of 6 from Ruggles – down the stretch to help Wheaton Academy pull away.
“Josh played some minutes for us as a sophomore. He played with a lot of composure, handled the press well and knocked down free throws,” Wheaton Academy coach Paul Ferguson said. “They are a really quick and athletic team. I was proud [of] how our guys bounced back.”
Jordan Glasgow added 11 points for Marmion.