Marmion overcomes cold shooting first half

Marmion Academy suffered through one of its coldest shooting halves of the basketball season Wednesday night against Ottawa at the 59th Plano Christmas Classic.

But when the Cadets finally got hot with five minutes to go in the third quarter they lit Reaper Gym on fire.

Behind six-foot, five-inch senior forward Trevon Roots' 18 points, No. 2-seeded Marmion turned a slim six-point advantage into a lopsided 61-28 running-clock blowout of the No. 7 seeded Pirates.

Marmion (10-3) hit nine 3-pointers over the final 13 minutes of play, three of which came from Roots as the Cadets advanced to Thursday evening's semifinal matchup with No. 3 seed Kaneland (13-1) at 7 p.m.

"We started off very slow tonight in the first half and we failed to knock down very many of our shots," Roots said. "I knew I had to pick up the slack in the second half and once we got going there was no stopping us."

Roots got some solid help from classmate Collin Wainscott and junior Evan Stumm, who each tallied eight points apiece as the Cadets ended up shooting a very respectable 23 of 55 (42%) overall from the field, 12 of 33 (36%) from 3-point land. They hit 10 of 19 (52%) in the red-hot second half from 3.

"We defended very well the whole night and when you have an off-shooting game like we did tonight against Ottawa, you have to be able to defend and not panic," Marmion coach Joe Piekarz said. "We knew eventually the shots would fall and they did. But our overall defense allowed us to survive a miserable shooting half like we experienced."

Ottawa (6-5) could manage only 9-of-33 field-goal attempts (27%) and 2 of 13 (15%) from 3, getting outscored 39-12 in the second half.

Aiden Mucci led the Pirates with six points, while Levi Sheehan and Payton Knoll each tallied five. Ottawa falls to the fifth-place bracket, where it will battle No. 6 seed Yorkville Christian at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

"The biggest thing tonight for us was (Roots) changed the game at the rim with his size altering so many of our shots," Ottawa coach Mark Cooper said. "Marmion's defense was very good and (Roots) really was a huge key.

"We stayed with them for part of three quarters. But that's a very good Marmion basketball team and once they got hot we couldn't keep up. Now we have to regroup for Yorkville Christian on Thursday."

Marmion inched out to a slender 11-9 lead after one quarter and extended the margin to 22-16 throughout a very low-scoring first half.

But after Ottawa kept its' deficit to only six at 28-22 on an easy bucket by Conner Price at the 5:01 mark, the Cadets went wild closing out the third stanza on a 15-1 run to blow the lead up to 43-23 where Roots and Stumm started the 3-point parade.

Then in the fourth quarter, six more Marmion 3s followed with Stumm hitting a triple from the right baseline to open the quarter at 7:02 followed by Roots' long top-of-the-key 3 ball at 6:03 to increase his team's lead to 52-23. Raef Goodbred would then come off the bench to nail his first of two 3-pointers at the 4:40 mark that put the Cadets up 55-25 as a running clock ensued from there.

"We know it's not going to get any easier moving forward in this tournament," Roots said. "But I'm very proud of the way our team performed tonight getting us into the semifinals tomorrow."

Kaneland, Marmion, Burlington cruise into Plano semifinals

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