MICHIGAN CITY — The Marquette Catholic training staff earned their keep on Saturday night.
With Colin Kenney and Buddy Jaffee, the Blazers' medical staff was able to do enough to help get the pair ready for the game against 21st Century and Marquette couldn't have been happier.
Kenney's 23 points and 14 from Jaffee off the bench propelled the Blazers to their first win in a 74-62 win over the Cougars at the Scholl Center.
"The medical staff here did an excellent job getting both Buddy and Colin ready and obviously they had a big part in the win (Saturday). " Marquette coach Fred Mooney said. "It wasn't just those two guys though, this was a team win."
Marquette Catholic (1-4) struggled out of the gates falling behind 11-0 forcing an early timeout from Mooney.
"We shot the ball well early," 21st Century coach Rodney Williams said. "We were able to take advantage of DeAndre Gholston's height advantage on the inside, too."
Soon after the time out, a bucket by Joe Andershock and a pair of Kenney baskets were a part of a 10-2 run that brought the Blazers within two, capped by a Jalen Russell buzzer-beating three.
"We had to stay the course," Mooney said. "We know what we have to do and we can't change what we're doing because we're down 10-0. Being 0-4, we could have really easily tucked our tail between our legs and accept we're moving on to 0-5 but they played with a heart of a lion. The guys bought in and it was good to see that commitment."
Stepping up was Marquette's Chandler Goodwin who opened the quarter with a lay-up to tie it at 15. He'd add a couple more baskets for six of his nine total points. Mooney spoke glowingly of his senior.
"Goodwin battled his rear-end off," Mooney said. "I can't say enough about his heart. He was guarding a high Division I player in Gholston and he just battled. He was a major part of our victory."
The Cougars responded however with a 7-0 run before a 3-ball by Joe Andershock and a lay-up by Russell brought it back within two. A mini 5-0 run put Marquette back on top briefly before a Triyonta Lomax three made it 32-31.
Jaffee came off the bench with two minutes to go in the frame. The Blazers would immediately find Jaffee on their next set play leading to his first of four triples.
"We knew we were going to set him up and it was the perfect opportunity to get him in the game," Mooney said. "We rotated it away and brought it back to him and he was there with his feet set and knocked it down."
A three-pointer by Gholston answered Jaffee to give the Cougars a 35-34 halftime lead.
Kenney had 12 of his 23 in the first half and was crucial in getting the Blazers back in the game. He sat out Friday's game against Lighthouse after an ankle injury in the first quarter on Wednesday against La Lumiere.
"I went through ball-handling and shooting drills earlier (Saturday) and felt near 80-85 percent so I felt ready to go tonight," he said. "Once the adrenaline ramped up, I got near 100 percent. I was just taking what the defense was giving me whether it was the three, the mid-range or the floater.
As was the second quarter, the third quarter remained a back-and-forth affair as the quarter included three ties and 10 lead changes. The Blazers led 49-48 heading into the fourth after a lay-up by Connor Donaldson.
His fellow ankle injury counterpart Jaffee had 14 points including a pair of 3s in the fourth, the big one being that put them up 52-50 with about six minutes to go.
"To be honest, the plan this whole week was for me to come back next week," he said. "I didn't it was a possible to play this weekend at all. (Friday), I went to the clinic and they thought I could play limited minutes but I still wasn't ready to go. I was ready to go for this one though. I felt I could play some minutes and once I got in the game, I felt fine.
"Once that first shot went in though, everything felt back to normal."
With the lead extended the six, the Cougars clawed back to within one, but the Blazers rattled off an 8-0 run to all but put the game away as Marquette won the fourth 25-14.
Joe Andershock had six of his 15 points in the fourth for Marquette, adding a team-high eight boards.
"We worked them in the fourth to where we wanted to get our shots and they had to chase the ball," Mooney said. "We knew where our shooters were going to be and we got them the ball in that situation and they knocked them down."
Gholston led 21st Century (4-3) with 23 points and 14 rebounds. Triyonta Lomax (15) and Christian Rogers (14) were also in double figures.
"They shot the ball well and we didn't in the fourth," Williams said. "We didn't finish like we normally do. We got some young guys that are learning each other and we got a lot of work to do, but that's what these games are for.