Clinging to a 1-point lead after 3 quarters, Marmion's basketball team received a much-needed emotional lift from reserves Alex Theisen and Colin Kavanaugh down the stretch Saturday night.
Theisen and Kavanaugh combined for 19 fourth-quarter points as the Cadets (10-9, 3-3) outscored Marian Central Catholic (2-18, 0-6) 24-10 in the final 8 minutes to pull away for a 66-51 Suburban Christian Conference Blue triumph in Aurora.
The junior tandem accounted for all of the scoring during the Cadets' 14-0 run in the first 4 minutes of the final period. Theisen (13 points) started and capped the surge with 3-pointers, while Kavanaugh (15 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds) added 4 free throws and a pair of baskets as the Cadets extended their lead to 56-41 with 4:11 remaining.
"In the third quarter, they made a run on us and took the lead back," Marmion coach Ryan Paradise said of the Hurricanes. "We were able to take that punch, and when we were able to get our composure back kind of see what was working in the second half.
"Colin was playing great," added Paradise. "He was finishing off plays and he was hitting free throws, so we wanted to go to him and he was doing a great job playing out of that. We knew exactly what we wanted to do -- it was a matter of controlling No. 21 (Ross Langlois), and I thought Alex Theisen did a tremendous job on him in the third and fourth quarters."
Kavanaugh realized his team had to give an improved defensive effort in the fourth quarter.
"I think we came out with a chip on our shoulders in the fourth quarter," said Kavanaugh. "Everyone was upset with how we played (in the third quarter). Coach (Paradise) really got us going and we knew we could shut them down on defense."
Theisen, who had 11 fourth-quarter points, also contributed 4 rebounds as the Cadets snapped a 2-game losing skid.
"Sometimes when you're coming off the bench, you get a chance to look and see how you fit in and go attack that way," said Paradise. "I always tell our guys that it's not about who is starting, it's about who is finishing. Those guys are a huge part of why we were able to make our run in the second half."
Playing in his third game back after missing some time with an ankle injury, Pete Stefanski shared team honors with 15 points, 5 rebounds and 5 blocked shots. The 6-5 senior had 10 of his points in the opening quarter, as the Cadets grabbed an 18-12 lead.
"Pete's a real good shooter and he has added the drive to his game," said Paradise. "And tonight on the defensive end, he may have had five or six blocks and some rebounds. That activity, with his length, he can be a big problem. That helps out our pressure defensively when we have him behind us."
Jeff Garofalo chipped in with 9 points for the Cadets, who host Aurora Central Catholic Friday night.
"We had two tough losses last week and we had lost three out of four," said Paradise. "These are two tough and important weeks for us."
Langlois led Marian Central Catholic with 15 points.