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Marian Catholic clinches East Suburban Catholic title

02/27/2014, 10:31pm CST
By Bill Harrison

Marian Catholic might have had the chance to score 100 points Thursday against Nazareth, but the No. 4 Spartans were perfectly content clinching the East Suburban Catholic with a 79-56 win.

The only thing in doubt after the first quarter of Marian Catholic’s Senior Night against Nazareth was whether the No. 4 Spartans would score 100 points.

If the starters would have played at least 24 of the 32 minutes, they might have. But Marian Catholic coach Mike Taylor will take the 79-56 East Suburban Catholic win while distributing substantial playing time for all 10 seniors.

“They are 10 really good kids and I’m glad they all got time,” Taylor said. “Makes a nice ending to their home career. They’ve only lost one game at home [against Homewood] in the last two years.”

The Spartans (24-2, 8-0) increased their home winning streak to 19 in a row and secured the conference title outright, their first since 2001. The Roadrunners (13-12, 3-5), also a senior-dominated team, were ahead 11-10 early before a 16-0 Spartans’ run.

The Spartans led 30-15 after the first in which all 10 seniors received playing time. Tyler Ulis and Josh Cohn were red hot out of the gate. Ulis scored eight of his 21 points in the first, while Cohn scored nine of his 15 in the stretch.

“This is a very special night to lead Marian,” Ulis said. “Last time playing on the Marian floor and it was an huge honor to play here. Now we need to get ready for state.”

Michael Brooks led the Roadrunners with 17 points while Chris Swade added 16.

The normal starters — Ulis, KiJana Crawford, Josh Oliver, Terrone Parham and Cohn — left with about 2 minutes left in the first and a 26-11 lead. The second group of seniors — Brandon Clark, Hayes Bynum, Ezra Pointer-Jones, Nick Damiana and Xavier Parker — increased the lead to 35-15 behind a three-pointer by Parker.

The Spartans led by as much as 45-17 late in the second quarter.

“This was good experience,” Parker said. “All my four years here and never really had an experience like that and we even gave us a little boost.”

The senior class has a combined record of 53-6 the last two seasons, are currently still adding to the best start in school history, and hope to improve on their Elite 8 appearance last season, which was the deepest any boys team had ever gone in the playoffs.

They are currently riding a nine-game win streak and have won 20 of last 21.

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