By Drake Skleba
For the Bugle 

Marist shoots down Hilltoppers in ESCC action in Joliet


Last updated 2/18/2021 at 10:54am

In an East Suburban Catholic Conference battle in Joliet on Wednesday, the visiting Marist Redhawks (2-1,1-1) led the host Joliet Catholic Hilltoppers 33-26 at the half.

In the first three minutes of the third quarter, a 9-0 Marist run, extended the Redhawk lead to 42-28.

After outscoring the Hilltoppers 21-7 in the third quarter, Marist led 55-33 and would go on to a 69-55 ESCC

road win.

Marist was led by junior Xavier Sulaiman, who scored a game-high 24 points. Senior Alexander Knight added 22 points for the victorious Redhawks from the Mount Greenwood neighborhood of Chicago.

With 5:55 remaining in the first quarter, it appeared that the Hilltoppers (0-3, 0-3) held a 7-0 lead and looked as if they were going to blow the visitors from Chicago out of the gym. Led by junior Alex Brown and senior John Ehrsam.

Marist recovered to take a 15-12 lead, after one quarter. The Redhawks extended their lead in the second quarter to 26-14 before Ehrsam (10 points, two 3's) went on a personal 8-2 run to pull JCA within 28-22 with 1:41 in the half. Marist would extend their lead to 33-26 at the break.

Brown scored 13 points to lead the Hilltoppers just missing a double double, while 6-foot-4 junior Brennan Luz scored nine points and hauled down 10 rebounds for JCA. Senior Ante Acosta chipped in with nine points.

"We will regroup from this loss," Luz said. "We will work hard in practice and I am confident we will continue to improve. My teammates were able to get me the ball inside where I could score. I am very happy with the way I rebounded tonight."

"We were not able to practice for a number of reasons, this week," JCA coach Joe Gura said. "Marist really deserved to win this game. They shot the lights out tonight. Brennan (Luz) played his butt off for us.

"I have a great group here at JCA. We're OK. We just have to work out some problems. The problem for my kids, not me, is the ESCC is so strong. We face super-talented teams every night. We played No.1 Notre Dame Friday in Niles, Marist here tonight and then we go to St. Pat's Friday. Last night St. Pat's took No.1 Notre Dame down to the wire."


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