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Boys Basketball: Marian Catholic hopes to not be awestruck by surroundings

Marian Catholic's boys basketball coach Mike Taylor (center). |   John Smierciak~For Sun-Times Media

Marian Catholic's boys basketball coach Mike Taylor (center). | John Smierciak~For Sun-Times Media

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CLASS 3A SUPERSECTIONALS

(all games Tuesday)

AT DEKALB (NIU)

Wheaton St. Francis
vs. Limestone, 6 p.m.

AT HOFFMAN ESTATES

North Chicago vs. Orr, 7:30 p.m.

AT JOLIET CENTRAL

Morgan Park vs. Hillcrest, 7:30 p.m.

AT SPRINGFIELD

Cahokia vs.
Chatham Glenwood, 7:30 p.m.

CLASS 4A SUPERSECTIONALS

(all games Tuesday)

AT CHICAGO STATE

New Trier vs. Simeon, 7:30 p.m.

AT DEKALB (NIU)

Rockford Boylan
vs. Stevenson, 8 p.m.

AT HINSDALE CENTRAL

West Aurora vs. Proviso East, 8 p.m.

AT NORMAL (ILLINOIS STATE)

Marian Catholic
vs. Edwardsville, 7:30 p.m.

Updated: April 13, 2013 6:16AM



The opportunity to play in a college arena is supposed to enhance the experience of competing in the high school playoffs.

But the larger court and expansive shooting background, among other issues, also can produce some unexpected obstacles.

“You can get a little shell-shocked by it all,” said Marian Catholic coach Mike Taylor, whose Spartans (29-3) play Edwardsville (29-2) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Class 4A Normal Supersectional on the campus of Illinois State University. “It’s been a big point of emphasis for us. We don’t want the kids to get overwhelmed by it all.”

Edwardsville may have an edge in that regard. A season ago, the Tigers played Bloom in the Normal Supersectional, with the Blazing Trojans earning a 53-41 win.

That experience might provide the Tigers, who have won 12 straight games, with a slight edge.

“I think it may help them early, but we need to execute the things we’re trying to do,” Taylor said. “We have to attack them offensively and be aggressive. If we settle for threes (pointers) we’re in trouble.”

Edwardsville relies more on its perimeter game. The Tigers are athletic, quick and strong, and spread the scoring between Tre Harris (17.3 points per game), Garrett Covington (18.2 ppg), Armon Fletcher and Drew Curtis — all of whom stand 6-foot-5. Point guard Shawn Roundtree relies more on setting the table than scoring.

“They can shoot it,” Taylor said. “The best part of their game is shooting the three. They have a few guys who live out there. We can’t give them open looks.”

Marian Catholic guards Tyler Ulis, Ki-Jana Crawford and Josh Cohn, as well as forwards John Oliver and Terrone Parham, have the quickness to stunt Edwardsville’s perimeter-heavy attack.

On the flip side, can the Tigers apply the clamps on the elusive Ulis, who’s averaging 22 points per game? It’s likely Harris will have the task of trying to neutralize Ulis. Harris did a fine job defending Rock Island guard C.J. Carr during the Tigers’ 71-45 sectional final win. Harris held Carr, a speedy 5-7 guard averaging 13 points per game, scoreless in the first half.

Ulis won’t mind being held scoreless, as long as his teammates pick up the slack and the Spartans, who have won 10 straight, move on.

“Tyler adjusts so well on the run,” Taylor said. “The bigger court should give other guys greater opportunities to score, and it also will open up the passing lanes more. If we can get the ball in the paint and get a few easy baskets, it will open things up for us.”



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