Jake Esp staggered Aurora Central Catholic in the first half, and Jordan Glasgow delivered the knockout punch in the second half Saturday night.
Glasgow scored a team-high 19 points, with 16 coming in the second half, while Esp added 15 points, with 14 in the first half, in leading host Marmion to a fast-paced 84-78 victory over the rival Chargers in a Suburban Christian Blue conference clash.
"Once you get past their two point guards, their center sags back quite a bit, so you have a lot of space to do what you want," Glasgow said. "My jump shot felt good and I really got it going there near the end of the third quarter."
That he did.
Aurora Central (2-13, 0-5) had trailed since late in the first quarter, chasing deficits as high as 14 points. But after the Chargers moved to within 8 points at 52-44 late in the third quarter, Glasgow powered inside for a basket, and followed it up with a jump shot.
With the Chargers hanging tough in the fourth, Glasgow again made things difficult, knocking down three baskets and two free throws to keep his team safely ahead.
"I just felt I did pretty well in the game overall when I got in," Glasgow said.
Marmion (8-10, 2-1) actually put a stranglehold on the game in the first quarter when Esp went to work using his 6-5 frame and long arms to either drive to the basket for layups, or fire passes from the free-throw line area to teammates cutting along the baseline for layups.
"We were trying to work the middle and drive or look for the short corner game," Esp said. "That's all we had to do.
"It was a fun game and fun atmosphere, and it felt good to be a part of it," Esp said.
The Cadets also got a boost from Michael Sheehan (17 points) in the opening frame. The senior guard buried three treys, including a buzzer beater at the end of the quarter from about half court that pushed Marmion's lead to 23-14.
The Chargers were never able to put a significant scare into Marmion after that, even though sophomore guard Nick Faltz poured in a game-high 24 points behind four treys and an 8-of-9 night at the foul line. Sean Harreld chipped in with 18 points.
"We got off to a slow start and gave up too many easy buckets in the first quarter that we ended up chasing the rest of the game," Aurora Central coach Nathan Drye said.
"After the first quarter we played pretty decently, but we got ourselves buried there in the first quarter and it was too big of a hole for us to dig out of," Drye added.
The game's final minute was a microcosm of the frustration Central would endure most of the night. After guard Brandon Babler drove inside for a layup that trimmed Marmion's lead to 78-72, Marmion's Matt Fletcher (8 points) missed a layup after breaking Central's press.
Charger forward Andy Czerak grabbed the rebound as he was falling out of bounds and tried to fire a pass downcourt, but Sheehan grabbed it for Marmion and was fouled. Sheehan made five free throws in the final 27 seconds to keep the Chargers at bay.
"Jordan and Jake were big in the middle for us tonight," Marmion coach Ryan Paradise said. "We scored 84 points, and missed about 10 easy layups, so it could have been much more."
Paradise wasn't happy with his team's defense in giving up 78 points, or the execution down the stretch, but he knows his club is trending in the right direction.
"We've had a good stretch, winning 8 of our last 12, but we are inconsistent," Paradise said. "We have a great half, then a not-so-great half, or a great game and then just an OK game.
"I love where we are at with our progress, but I want to get some consistency going," he added.
Drye knows his young team is taking its lumps this year in hopes for better days down the road.
"We're getting better, but it's been a process for us," Drye said. "We have to figure out how to play. Our young guys have come in with no varsity experience, and it just takes time. But Nick (Faltz) and (sophomore) Evan Schuetz were big for us tonight.
"As they get better, we're getting better."
Danny Bicknell and Esp each pulled down seven rebounds in helping the Cadets enjoy a slight rebounding edge at 27-24. Both teams shot well from the floor, with Central hitting 25 of 49 shots for 51 percent, while Marmion shot 32-of-58 for 55 percent.