If St. Viator keeps playing like this, the Lions won't be able to fly below the radar much longer.
Their play against East Suburban Catholic Conference rival Marist on Friday was more like a bold message to the rest of the conference boys basketball teams in the form of a 78-39 romp at Cahill Gym.
"We really played well tonight," St. Viator coach Mike Howland said. "We got after it on defense and made the extra passes on offense."
After preseason prognosticators placed St. Viator among the also-rans in the ESCC in Howland's first year as coach, the Lions remain unbeaten, 8-0 overall and 2-0 in conference games. Being overlooked doesn't seem to bother Howland at all.
"We still talk about it in practice," Howland said. "We're still under the radar.
"We want to send a message every night we come out."
St. Viator jumped out to a 21-12 lead after one quarter, sparked by consecutive 3-point baskets by D.J. Morris (10 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds), Ore Arogundade (9 points) and Kevin Walsh (game-high 19 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists).
But that was nothing compared to the second quarter, when the Lions started with a 14-0 run, outscoring Marist 26-5 in the quarter to lead 47-17 at halftime.
"Marist is better than they played tonight, and they'll bounce back," Howland said. "They're one of the powers in the conference. They were playing short-handed (without 6-5 sophomore center Nic Weishar)."
"Once we got rolling, it was fun," said Walsh, who scored all of his points in the first 3 quarters. "There are always doubters. I know we're capable, and we work pretty hard at both ends of the court."
Morris, who already had to play through a broken nose and a nagging rib injury this season, said the domination of a conference rival was "hard to imagine.
"I have faith in the whole team," he said. "Every day, we have to show what we can do."
The Lions outscored Marist 12-8 in the third quarter and 19-14 in the fourth, with reserves taking over to finish the job.
"If you want to hang a (championship) banner, you have to win at home," Howland said.
He said the road victory last week against St. Patrick gave the team a confidence boost.
"That was big for us," Howland said. "It proved how good we can be, and we bounced back from some adversity when they went on a 17-3 run."
Twelve St. Viator players scored. Patrick Martin aded 10 points and Mayo Orogundade and Mike McNamara each had 6 points.
"We might not have a 20-point scorer, but this team will be hard to defend," Howland said. "When they share the ball, we're hard to stop."
L.J. McIntosh led Marist with 12 points, and 6-6 freshman center T.J. Vorva added 10 off the bench for the Redhawks.