After clinching the Suburban Christian Conference Blue Division the Wheaton Academy boys basketball team crossed something else off of its list Friday -- an undefeated conference season.
The Warriors held off a late rally from Marmion to complete a 59-49 victory in the final game of the regular season, putting them at 10-0 in the conference, 19-8 overall.
"Every time you tip it up against those guys you're gonna be in for a battle," said Wheaton Academy coach Pete Froedden. "So that was expected and they're not gonna quit, you gotta keep playing, and I thought it was a really well-played game on both ends, a lot of effort from both teams."
After a first quarter in which both teams struggled shooting, the action heated up in the second quarter. Warriors senior Gordon Behr -- who had all 8 points for his team in the first -- received some help as Wheaton Academy dropped 19 points in the second.
The emergence of junior Josh Ruggles and senior William Burdett helped the Warriors take a 27-20 lead into halftime, and Wheaton Academy continued to build off the lead in the second half.
In the third Marmion (14-14, 5-5) continued to struggle from the floor, hitting only one field goal in the entire quarter. They went 6 of 6 from the free-throw line, but the Warriors outshot them 16-8.
"I thought our defense was great," said Marmion coach Ryan Paradise. "We played tough, we played smart, (but) offensively was a struggle for us all night. We couldn't hit the shots we normally we make and when we got to the paint a lot of times the shot got blocked because of their size … . Coming away from it I was proud of our guys."
The Cadets made a run and pulled within 7 points with a little less than two minutes of play until a reach-in foul and a technical on Paradise put the game at 53-43 in favor of the Warriors.
With a minute left in the game, Marmion pulled the within 6 points, but the Warriors' free-throw shooting down the stretch turned their undefeated conference possibilities into reality.
"We made a run and got it to 15, and they brought it back to 6, but the poise we had was big," Ruggles said. "We had some turnovers, but we didn't stop and watch the ball, we hustled back and we just took it one possession at a time and tried to get this ‘W' for the team."
Ruggles finished with a game-high 16 points for the Warriors. Marmion's Sheehan had a team-high 12 points.