St. Viator never exhibited any edginess even when its edge on Marist turned tenuous Friday night.
Four times in the fourth quarter the Redhawks closed within 2 points in the East Suburban Catholic Conference boys basketball game at Cahill Gym in Arlington Heights.
Each time the Lions calmly responded in a 62-56 victory.
"With four returning starters on the floor - we know what to do in those types of situations," said Viator senior Richard McLoughlin, who scored 8 of his team-high 18 points in the fourth quarter.
"Everyone keeps their composure and no one yells at each other if things go wrong," said senior Richard Markovits, who provided a big boost off the bench with 9 points and 6 rebounds. "We've grown so much in that area and the chemistry on this team is great."
Viator (13-4, 3-3) also showed its poise in handling the variety of zone defenses by Marist (7-11, 1-5).
Alan Aboona didn't score in the fourth quarter but finished with 17 points as the Lions committed only 5 turnovers. Brendan King (8 points) hit 2 free throws for a 60-56 lead with 30 seconds left and Jack Etchingham and Julian Sipiora had 5 and 3 assists respectively.
"Again, the experience of these guys really helps," said Viator coach Joe Majkowski. "They're not going to give in and they try to do the right things."
McLoughlin, Aboona and King hit 3-pointers in a 14-2 tear as Viator took a 32-22 lead 3:25 before halftime.
"We thought we'd keep rolling with that," McLoughlin said. "But they didn't miss many shots and it was tough."
Marist hit all 15 of its free throws and was 9-for-17 on 3s. Nick Valla scored a game-high 23 points and three times got his team within 2 points in the fourth - twice with 2 free throws and then at 53-51 on his fourth 3 with 3:30 left.
Viator answered with a short baseline turnaround by McLoughlin and a Sipiora layup. McLoughlin finished off the Redhawks and set the final score with 14 seconds left when he scored off a missed free throw.
"I thought Marist played really well tonight and we played really well, too," Majkowski said.
"We found a way to win it," McLoughlin said. "They came ready to play."