CHICAGO HEIGHTS | Josh Cohn and his Marian Catholic teammates were issued a halftime challenge Friday night to step things up on defense.
"Coach (Mike Taylor) got on us at halftime especially after I got beat on that last shot of the first half," Cohn said. "We kind of played so-so defense in the first half and we knew we had to pick it up. We were coming off a loss and we knew we had to step up."
That they did as they took control in the third quarter with Cohn striking on both ends as The Times No. 1 Spartans beat the Redhawks 57-44 in an East Suburban Catholic Conference game at Casey Court.
Cohn finished with a game-high 16 points, making four 3-pointers. He had eight points in the third quarter.
Before the game, the school retired Dennis Kelly's No. 67 Philadelphia Eagles jersey.
"I thought we had three people playing defense out there and we weren't getting it done," Taylor said. "I got on them a little because we score off our defense.
"You challenge Ki-Jana (Crawford) and John (Oliver) and Josh and they get ticked off and want to answer the challenge."
The Spartans (16-2, 4-0) held Marist (15-5, 2-2) without a third-quarter field goal until there were 37.4 seconds left in the quarter.
"Just plain man-to-man and pressure," Crawford said. "We did not play that well in the first half and we got a talking to and we came out in the third quarter and played defense."
Marist was without Nic Weishar, a Notre Dame football recruit, who had a sprained ankle."He is not that big (5-foot-11), but he is a leader and his presence is a big difference," Taylor said.
Marian led 34-21 at the half as Marist's Kevin Lerman scored right before halftime. The Spartans opened with an 11-0 run as Cohn hit a jumper and Terrone Parham scored five straight points.
"That got us going," Cohn said. "We got things together on both ends."
Tyler Ulis went over the 2,000-point mark in the first quarter and finished with 15 points. Parham had six rebounds as Marian built a 51-22 lead on a Cohn 3-pointer with 4:01 left in the third.
Taylor played his entire squad.