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Saddled with two quick fouls Saturday, Marian Catholic’s Tyler Ulis took a seat on the bench.
The Kentucky-bound guard wouldn’t be there long.
Returning to the court in the second quarter, Ulis dropped in a hanging jumper. Then a baseline pull-up. Then a pair of free throws. The Spartans were off and running and not slowing down.
Coming off an emotional comeback win Friday over Benet, Marian Catholic had no letdown Saturday, the Spartans taking down T.F. North 67-48 at the Crete-Monee Shootout.
“We wanted to turn it up defensively and get some steals,” Ulis said. “Defensively, me and K.J. (Crawford) got those steals, turned it up that way.”
Ulis finished with 22 points, five assists and four steals to pace Marian Catholic (6-1) with Terrone Parham (10 points) and Crawford (9 points, 3 steals) contributing for the Spartans.
Jahari Dix (13 points) and Dirk Jordan (12 points) led T.F. North (5-2) in defeat.
Ulis picked his moments carefully, trying not to pick up a third foul that would have sent him right back to the bench next to Marian coach Mike Taylor.
“Tyler knows when (to go), and he’s got a good pulse on the game,” Taylor said. “He knows when he has to exert himself and when to get the other guys involved.”
Ulis’ personal 6-0 run put Marian up 23-13 early in the second and the Spartans eventually claimed a commanding 38-22 halftime advantage. The defense keyed the lead, with T.F. North committing 12 first half turnovers, eight alone in the first quarter.
“That’s our main goal, pressure on the ball, hope it creates turnovers,” Crawford said. “Friday and tonight, that’s what it did. You never want your guy to score on you.”
T.F. North played for the third time in a little over 24 hours having fallen to Richards in overtime Friday and beating Phillips early Saturday at the CPS Holiday Showcase.
“I thought it would be a good test for our kids,” T.F. North coach Tim Bankston said. “It’s a chance to see where we’re at. We’ve got a young team so we’ll be okay.”