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Boys Basketball: Marist quiets Brother Rice

Ryan Tucker (left) Marist makes move around Brother Rice's Dan Scanl| Jeff Vorva/For Sun-Times Media

Ryan Tucker (left), of Marist, makes a move around Brother Rice's Dan Scanlon | Jeff Vorva/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 23, 2014 6:32AM



Marist coach Gene Nolan knew for his team to pull out a victory Tuesday night against Brother Rice it would need to contain Crusaders guards Ray Rubio and Quinn Niego.

It’s a task that generally is easier said than done. The two are averaging approximately 37 points per game.

Marist’s defense, however, certainly was up to the task, limiting Rubio and Niego to a combined 20 points.

The end result was a 52-40 victory by host Marist in front of a standing-room-only crowd.

“I was real proud of our kids effort throughout the game, especially defensively,” Nolan said. “Quinn Niego and Ray Rubio are real difficult covers. Our kids did a great job covering two great high school basketball players.”

Kevin Lerma gets credit for containing Rubio, who finished with 14 points on 5-of-14 shooting. Ryan Tucker had the task of guarding Niego, who totaled just six points on a 3-of-11 performance.

“We knew Ray and Quinn are great players,” Marist forward Nic Weishar said. “We studied their tendencies and knew what they were going to do before they did it.”

Tucker not only starred on defense, but provided a couple of huge baskets in the fourth quarter. When Rice drew to within 35-26 with 7:15 to go, Tucker (11 points) stepped up and buried consecutive three-pointers to up the RedHawks’ advantage 41-26. The Crusaders later clawed to within nine once again, but it was too late.

“Coach always says to be careful with my shooting, but to keep shooting,” Tucker said. “Yeah, they both felt good leaving my hand.”

Both teams came out slowly before Rice (8-9) found its groove and grabbed a 10-7 lead after one quarter. When Mike Shepski, a freshman, canned a jumper and Niego followed with a layup, Rice led 18-12 with 3:49 remaining in the first half.

Unbeknownst to Crusaders fans at the time, the bottom would drop out from there.

Marist (14-4) ended the half of a 9-0 run, highlighted by two threes by Bradley Hill (12 points), to enter intermission with a 21-18 edge.

The RedHawks weren’t finished. Two baskets by Jeremiah Ferguson and a lay-in by Weishar (7 points) at the outset of the second half extended the run to 15-0 and Marist’s lead to 27-18.

“We started pushing the ball more,” Weishar said. “We were able to get easy baskets.”

A jumper by Dan Scanlon (7 points) brought Rice to within 27-20, but the Crusaders got no closer the rest of the way.

“We respect them, but it’s always great to beat them,” Weishar said.

Before the game, a momet of silence was observed for longtime Brother Rice teacher Al Filan, who was found dead Tuesday in his Orland Park home.



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