HAMMOND | Marquis Tarver’s shot didn’t need an accompanying wind chill factor for him to notice it had gone cold.
Just as the January temps dwindled, so did the Bishop Noll senior’s shooting percentage. Thus, he did what diligent athletes do and fixed the problem. Tarver came into school early most mornings to put up shots and find himself.
He was ruthless from outside in December but lost his swerve shortly after competing in the Times Region Roundball Rumble 3-point shootout on New Year’s Day.
What’s broken is now apparently fixed, as evidenced by Friday night’s Greater South Shore Conference tournament semifinal performance against Whiting, where Tarver nailed four 3-pointers on the way to a team-high 23 points in a 75-50 win.
Seeking their fourth consecutive conference tournament title, the Warriors will play in the championship at approximately 7 p.m. today at Calumet. The boys final follows the girls final, which also features Bishop Noll.
“I knew I had to come back,” Tarver said. “I came in early and got my shots up and got my groove back.”
Times No. 5 Bishop Noll (10-2) stayed out of its groove in the first quarter as Whiting hit a minor hot streak and led 14-11 after one.
After Tyreon Gates and Larry Crisler put the Warriors up 15-14 with back-to-back buckets, Tarver nailed two consecutive treys to extend the lead to 28-20 and start the rout.
“The game plan was to come out strong, and we didn’t do that,” Tarver said. “We came out sluggish, but in the second quarter we got some energy points.”
Crisler, who scored 20 in the game, had eight points in the second period as the Warriors took a 34-23 lead into the break and extended the lead to 29 after Roman Penn beat the third quarter buzzer for a 3.
Whiting’s ball handling gave Bishop Noll plenty of turnovers for fast breaks. The Oilers (7-7) were working the ball in the first period but could not muster much of an attack for the rest of the game.
Bishop Noll coach Joshua Belluomini said he was disappointed with his team’s effort, particularly the slow start.
“We have so much talent that we can get out of binds like that, but we have such big goals as far as making a run to state that we can’t afford lapses like that,” Belluomini said.
The lone bright spot for Whiting was Matt Dvorscak, who had 32 points with six 3-pointers. He had 17 points at halftime and found the zone in the fourth quarter with four consecutive swished treys.
“We are a good team with multiple players who can do a lot,” Tarver said. “On different nights, it’s different people. Tonight was my turn to get the team back to playing Bishop Noll basketball.”