Michael Sheehan has the blessing of his head coach to shoot the basketball.
After the Marmion senior guard hit just 1 of his 6 first-half field goal attempts, he kept his head up and followed his coach's advice.
Sheehan scored 21 of his career-high 24 points in the second half, as the Cadets (9-10, 3-1) rallied from a 7-point halftime deficit to defeat St. Francis 59-53 in Suburban Christian Conference Blue Division basketball action Friday night in Aurora.
"Sometimes it gets in my head but I've got a great coaching staff that tells me to shake it off and keep shooting," said Sheehan. "That's what I did tonight."
In the third quarter, the St. Charles resident caught fire at the same time as the rest of his teammates when he canned 4 consecutive 3-pointers -- the last enabling the Cadets to draw within 39-37 before Jordan Glasgow's jumper from the elbow tied the score at 39-39.
After the Spartans (7-7, 4-3) retook a 41-39 lead on a layup by Kilian Brown (9 points, 9 rebounds), Glasgow answered with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to put the Cadets in front 42-41.
"That was a huge shot giving us a boost going into the fourth quarter," said Cadets coach Ryan Paradise.
Marmion, which made all 5 of its 3-point attempts in the third quarter, began the fourth period in similar fashion as Sheehan drained a long-range jumper from the corner to make it 45-41.
"My teammates gave me the opportunities to get open," said Sheehan. "They set amazing screens. We have a couple sets, usually for the guy is hot."
Sheehan was the "guy" in the second half.
"He was aggressive in the second half and we took what they gave us," Paradise said of Sheehan. "Mike's a good shooter and we don't want him passing up open shots."
Sheehan added a conventional basket and Corey Friel capped a 23-4 run with a layup off a feed from Glasgow, as the Cadets' lead swelled to 49-41 with 5:39 remaining.
"Mike and Jordan led us the whole way," said Paradise. "They just wouldn't let us lose this game, whether it was hitting big shots or getting big defensive stops. I thought our team defense in the second half was tremendous."
Zach Prociuk poured in a team-high 22 points for St. Francis, which built a double-digit lead early in the third quarter before the Cadets' comeback.
"I really thought we were very sharp defensively in the first half," said Spartans coach Bob Ward, who was trying to earn his 300th career victory. "I thought we were efficient with the basketball and then they had a couple of kids that just really went off.
"If you're going to play good man-to-man, which is predicated on playing good team defense, we didn't play very good team defense against good shooters," added Ward. "We have to do a better job of helping on screens."
Adam Hart scored all 10 of his points in the second half for the Spartans, who will celebrate the 25th anniversary of their 1989 team that placed fourth in the state (Class A) Saturday night against Prairie Ridge.
"I've said it all year long -- we're a work in progress," said Ward. "I thought we took a step forward in the first half. In the second half, they got some loose balls and kept possessions alive. You can't win games that way."
Jake Esp had 9 points and Danny Bicknell added 6 points and a game-high 11 rebounds for Marmion.
"We had great energy and we won with heart," said Sheehan.