AURORA – Basketball fans had to arrive early at Aurora Central Catholic to be assured a decent seat for a sold-out game between rivals ACC and Marmion on Friday night.
But with the Chargers holding a commanding 19-point lead at the half, the early arriving fans might have been daydreaming about the sophomore contest, won by Marmion with a put-back at the buzzer.
However, the Cadets staged a furious rally during the second half, ensuring the varsity Suburban Christain Conference Blue contest also would end as a nail-biter. ACC held off Marmion in the fourth quarter to win, 63-60.
“As bad as it was, I can’t imagine how bad I would feel if we didn’t finish it off,” ACC coach Nate Drye said. “I’m just going to be happy that we won, and when we look back in the record book, we won by three.”
ACC (8-7, 3-2 SCC Blue) held a one-point advantage after the first eight minutes, and the Chargers poured in 28 points during the second quarter to seemingly take control of the game.
A Phil Schuetz dunk off a Marmion steal late in the half put the exclamation point on the Chargers’ dominance.
Schuetz, who scored all of ACC’s points in the second half of Tuesday’s contest with Joliet Catholic, scored the first four points of Friday’s game before his teammates took over. The senior finished the night with 11 points.
Marmion (5-11, 1-2) got off to a bad start in the second half. Early in the third quarter, the Cadets’ Matt Smith drew his fifth foul and a technical. Anthony Andujar (nine points) hit both free throws to give his team its biggest lead of the night, 47-24.
But the technical seemed to recharge the Cadets and triggered a 17-4 run that cut ACC’s lead to 10 at the end of the quarter, 51-41.
“It probably fired them up a little,” Drye said. “They were down in the dumps and sometimes something like that can swing the momentum.”
Marmion’s comeback continued into the fourth quarter. The Cadets took the lead, 59-58, with 1:16 minutes left on an Alex Theisen layup.
Shawn Soris connected on two free throws to return the lead to the Chargers with 58 seconds to go.
With 15.4 seconds to go and the Chargers clinging to a one-point lead, Soris (12 points) sank two more free throws to widen the lead to 63-60, and Marmion was unable to answer.
Marmion’s Jordan Glasgow led all scorers with 17 points. Teammates Mike Sheehan tallied 12 and Theisen had 11.