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Marian Catholic's Tyler Ulis (right) waits to drive on Lemont's Juozas Balciunas (left) during a boys varsity basketball game on Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012 in Crete, Ill. | John Smierciak~for Sun-Times Media
Marian Catholic had four players score in double figures led by junior guard Tyler Ulis’ game-high 25 points as the Spartans defeated Lemont 77-56 in the Crete-Monee Shootout Saturday evening.
The Spartans were balanced on offense as Terrone Parham, ruled eligible by the IHSA on Dec. 20, scored 19 points while Joshua Cohn and Kevin Phillips each added 10.
Juozas Balciunas led Lemont with 22 points, while Martynas Einikis and Mike Wisz added 12 and 10 points, respectively.
“You give Tyler the ball and he just doesn’t do anything foolish with it,” Marian Catholic coach Mike Taylor said. “The way that he gets in and out of traps and finds his teammates was big,” Taylor said.
Marian Catholic (9-1) trailed 17-16 after one quarter and then the Spartan offense started to click. Parham’s consecutive three-pointers gave Marian a 22-19 lead that they would never relinquish with 7:15 left before halftime.
“I just tried to focus on the game and get ready for it and my team was by my side throughout the entire process,” Parham said.
“[Parham’s] three threes were huge for us in the game,” Ulis said. “We played some pick-and-pop and I just played off the defense.”
Ulis’ running basket in the lane extended the Marian lead to 39-27 with two minutes left before the half. Marian led 43-30 at the half as the Spartans defense held the Indians to just 10-of-23 (2-for-8 on three-pointers) shooting from the floor.
Lemont (9-1) had decent looks from long distance but wound up converting just 4-for-19 in the game.
Lemont had no answer for Ulis and the quicker, faster Marian guards. Ulis’ crossover dribble and basket extended the lead to 49-34 with 4:30 left in the third quarter.
“We worked on hedging out on the guards and then they (Marian) came out and ran some pick-and-pop and we hadn’t planned on that and it worked out nicely for them,” Lemont coach Rick Runaas said.