Wheaton Academy had it happen earlier -- getting punched in the mouth and not responding, to quote boys basketball coach Pete Froedden. Saturday the Warriors took the jab and countered.
Marmion rallied from an 8-point deficit entering the fourth quarter for two shots at a late go-ahead basket. Wheaton Academy withstood the flurry for a 66-62 Suburban Christian Conference Blue Division victory in Aurora.
"They made a run, they made some shots, we didn't guard some things well but it wasn't from a lack of effort," said Froedden, whose Warriors maintained their SCC Blue stranglehold at 6-0, 12-7 overall. "When we do that it allows us to grow and I think that's what you're seeing. I'm real proud of them."
Marmion (9-11, 3-2) had only modest success from the 3-point arc through three quarters, 3 of 15. In the fourth Mike Sheehan swished four of his five 3s and Tyler Maryanski and Jordan Glasgow each hit 1.
Sheehan, scoring a personal-high 26 points, tied the score 56-56 on a 3 with 1:59 to play. Wheaton Academy responded with free throws by Gordon Behr and Will Burdett and a Christian Smith 3 to regain a 62-56 lead with 35.7 seconds left.
"We came out here tonight and I could just see it in everybody's eyes that we did not want to lose a game in conference," said Warriors guard Josh Ruggles, who scored 13 points.
That was still in the balance when the Cadets rotated the ball to Glasgow in the right corner for a 3, then Maryanski and Sheehan absorbed two straight Wheaton Academy offensive charges.
"Our effort defensively the whole game I was really proud of, but it just felt like the team that scored last won it," said Marmion coach Ryan Paradise, praising the interior defense of Danny Bicknell and Matt Fletcher against taller forces.
Sheehan made 2 free throws to get within 62-61 with 20.4 seconds left. After a Cadets timeout with 16.3 seconds remaining, Glasgow drove to the paint where he found the 6-foot-8 Behr, arms straight up. The shot missed, Marmion's Danny Bicknell attempted the putback, but that bounded out into Behr's hands.
"I just wanted to make sure and, of course, get that rebound and hold it tight, go to the foul line," said Behr, who scored 24 points with 12 rebounds and 4 blocked shots.
Behr made the free throws with 4.4 seconds left for a 64-62 margin. Sheehan made a free throw with 1.6 seconds and intentionally missed the second, but Marmion was called for a lane violation. Ruggles capped the scoring with 2 last-second free throws.
"We were confident," Sheehan said. "Wheaton Academy is a really good team, they're always up there in the conference. We always play hard against them and we really thought we had them this time."
"We definitely had heart coming back from being at a deficit, cut it close there at the end," added forward Maryanski, who scored 23 points. "We fought our behinds off."