Boys Basketball: Marian Catholic reaches McDipper semifinals for first time in 34 years
By Pat Disabato firstname.lastname@example.org December 27, 2012 10:34PM
Marian Catholic's Chris Austin brings the ball up as Rich East's Russell Wright pursues in a quarterfinal of the McDipper Tournament at Rich South. Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 29, 2013 6:23AM
For the first time in 34 years, Marian Catholic finds itself in the semifinals of the Rich South McDipper.
That’s because the Spartans easily handled Rich East by a 56-34 count Thursday in a quarterfinal match.
Marian (11-1), which settled for a fourth-place finish in 1978, will play Seton on Friday at 8:30 p.m.
“If you would have told me we’d be 11-1, I wouldn’t have believed you with the schedule we’ve played,” Marian Catholic coach Mike Taylor said. “We didn’t talk about the (Mc)Dipper much. Of course, you get to the semis, we’ll see if we can get to Saturday night — well, where we want to be playing Saturday night.”
Win or lose Friday, Marian will play Saturday. The difference is a victory advances the Spartans to the championship; a loss sends them to the third-place game.
While junior whiz Tyler Ulis led the attack, recording a game-high 20 points, he received plenty of assistance from his supporting cast.
Terrone Parham contributed 10 points and Kevin Phillips added nine.
Taylor couldn’t have drawn up a better start to the game. Every starter registered a bucket during the Spartans’ 11-6 first-quarter lead.
“That’s exactly what we want — get everyone scoring,” Taylor said. “Get some eyes off Tyler and it makes it easier on Tyler and forces teams to defend more.”
When Ulis, whose lightning quick moves and dazzling passes had the near-capacity crowd oohing on multiple occasions, stopped and popped from 10 feet out, the Spartans led 25-15. Rich East would never see its deficit reach single digits the rest of the night.
Ulis scored the final eight points of the second quarter, allowing Marian to coast into intermission with a 31-15 edge.
Rich East, lethargic and uninspired most of the evening, never found its groove.
“We didn’t show up to play,” Rich East coach George Leonard said. “They’re a great team, but we were awful.”
The statistics support Leonard’s assessment. Rich East, which was led by Don Henderson (10 points) and Ron Lawton (9), was 11-of-45 from the field.
Marian was 16-of-37 from the field and 22-of-30 from the free-throw line.
It marked the second time this season the Spartans have handled Rich East (5-3). The first occurred on Nov. 30, with Marian posting a 60-50 victory.