The men and women who grade the academic performance of St. Viator's girls basketball players were in the stands for Monday's nonconference game against visiting Resurrection from Chicago.
The large contingent of teachers on hand for Faculty Night no doubt would have been handing out a lot of high marks for their students' basketball skills.
The Lions broke on top 9-0 and never looked back in a 54-40 win at the Cahill Gymnasium, lifting their record to 15-6 while Resurrection slipped to 12-10.
"It was awesome having all our teachers here," said Lions senior guard Michaela Mueller, who scored her team's first baskets of the first and second quarters. "Coach (Jason Raymond) told us we had to put a good show on for the faculty."
"It was good to see the faculty come and support the girls basketball team," said DePauw-bound senior guard Olivia Solimene, who led the Lions with 16 points, 3 assists and a steal. "Obviously we wanted to put a good show on for the teachers who work hard for us every single day and help us with our academic needs. So this was nice."
Starting her first game as the Lions' all-time scoring leader, Saint Louis recruit Myia Clark collected 14 points, 4 assists and 4 steals while junior Natalie Krause fired home a pair of 3-pointers, the first just before the buzzer from deep in the corner to gave Viator a 29-15 cushion at half.
Raymond played his entire roster of 16 girls with Haley Robinson, Maddie Fitzpatrick, Bridget DeZellar, Elise Horbach, Carrie Leazer and Payton McDonnell all making it into the scoring column.
"I don't think too many varsity teams carry 16 girls," Raymond said. "We've played all 16 before but we went pretty deep in the first half tonight. I keep telling the girls this is a strength of our team.
"We have really good practices because we have great team depth. We have talented players who don't get a lot of run because they're playing behind talented players. So our strength is the ability to have quality practices and really push each other."
The Lions made a big push to start the second quarter.
They scored the first 11 points as Robinson's layup off a beautiful no-look pass from Clark capped the streak.
Solimene had one of her two 3-pointers during the big rally.
"We wanted to keep the same tempo and energy we had from our last games (including Thursday's overtime win at Marian Central Catholic where Clark become the program's all-time scoring)," Solimene said. "We were locked in. There were some breakdowns but we overcame them and played hard the whole game."
Sophomore Madison Dorband led the Bandits with 10 points while senior Veronica Keires added 8 for the Girls Catholic Athletic Conference champs (7-1).
"They (Bandits) played hard," Raymond said. "They're scrappy. I thought we came out with great energy in the first half where I was very happy with how we played defense. We worked on some things in practice and there was some carry-over, which was nice to see."
Resurrection coach Jon Palicki spent two years coaching in Viator's program, one on Raymond's staff as the sophomore coach.
"They have a good group," said Palicki, whose staff includes former Fremd hall of fame coach Carol Plodzien. "Myia and Olivia are going on to play in college for a reason.
"We kind of knew that the day they walked into the building. I coached her for two years. So all those guys on the other side are my good friends today, and they will be tomorrow."
Viator and Resurrection are in the same sectional.
"They (Viator) have a good club," Palicki said. "I could definitely see them getting a top seed in the sectional (Class 3A).
"But my team isn't bad either. We are 12-10 and we just won the GCAC. So our goals is to hopefully see them (Viator) down the road. We've played a tough schedule. Seven or eight of our losses are to 4A teams. We are a 3A team with 450 girls, so we'll take our chances."