St. Viator wasted no time in setting the tone for the second half of the season.
The Lions edged Glenbrook North 67-65 on Wednesday night, and they continued rolling in a winning direction Friday.
Sophomore Mark Falotico scored a game-high 21 points and junior Ore Arogundade added 20 in helping St. Viator (11-3, 2-1) storm to a 77-53 East Suburban Catholic Conference victory over visiting Carmel at the Cahill Gymnasium Arlington Heights.
"We've made a lot of progress," said St. Viator coach Mike Howland, whose team went 2-2 at Wheeling's Hardwood Classic. "We went back to work -- effort on the defensive end, and sharing the ball on the offensive end."
St. Viator jumped out to an early 8-2 advantage, but Carmel (5-10, 0-4) took advantage down low, tying the game at 10-10 with 3:24 remaining in the opening quarter.
Junior Jack George scored 6 of his 10 points in the opening quarter to pace the Corsairs.
St. Viator took a 16-12 advantage into the second quarter, and the Lions used an early 10-1 run in increasing its lead to 26-15 with 4:21 remaining in the first half.
Senior Patrick Martin (8 points) started the run with a 3-pointer, and the Lions' offense hit its stride with Falotico scoring 8 points in the quarter as Viator took a 34-23 halftime advantage.
"When everyone is touching the ball and we're all moving it's fun to watch," said Ore Arogundade.
The Lions' defense closed the door down low, with senior Mike McNamara and junior Tom Martin combining to limit the Carmel's height advantage.
"They did a great job against the size of Carmel," said Howland of his team's interior defense. "It allowed our guards to really get after people. They go a little bit unnoticed but they were huge tonight."
"We wanted to force them out a little bit," said McNamara. "We knew we had to keep grinding it out."
Viator kept up the pressure in the third quarter, opening with a 10-0 run to take a comfortable 44-23 lead.
Ore Arogundade scored 7 points in the quarter as the Lions entered the final period with a commanding 53-34 advantage.
Senior Cullen Barr (14 points) and junior Nickai Poyser (9 points) paced the Corsairs' offense.
"They keep wearing on you and wearing on you," said Carmel coach Tim Bowen of the Viator defense. "When they made the big runs we didn't get back in transition. We're still learning."