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MICHIGAN CITY — It took a while for Marquette Catholic to find its footing Tuesday, both literally and figuratively.

"We were trying to make our cuts and we couldn't cut," Blazers coach Fred Mooney said. "We'd step and slip. I was talking to (Lake Central coach) Dave (Milausnic) and we didn't want to get a kid hurt before sectionals."

Humidity from the day's heavy rains, coupled with the air conditioning being off in the building, caused condensation on the floor of the Scholl Center. Marquette athletic director Katie Collignon broke out a mop during a second-quarter break, and the Blazers found their stride after the half, using a 13-point surge to turn the game on their way to a confidence-building 58-46 victory.

"The court was a little slippery," Colin Kenney said. "Once that calmed down, we got our feet back on defense and offense and we started to make plays we weren't making in the first half. Our intensity picked up."

Kenney scored 11 in a row and 14 total in the third quarter as the Blazers (10-13) turned a 35-30 deficit into a 43-35 advantage. The junior guard had two 3s in the period, but it was Marquette's defense that triggered the spurt. L.C. (12-11) had five turnovers in the stretch with blocks by Chandler Goodwin and Joe Andershock triggering transition baskets by the Blazers.

"Joe's defense was great all game. Chandler's defense was great all game." Kenney said. "We feed off stuff like that. I was just feeding off those guys' energy. Once I knew my shots started falling, I started finding my spots."

The Indians drew within 48-46 on a steal by Keon Sellers that led to a layup with 2:08 left, but Marquette closed the game with the last 10 points.

"We've wanted a win like that very badly," Mooney said. "Our schedule has been brutal. We haven't had healthy bodies all season. We're still missing a couple pieces, but we're getting everybody back. A couple weeks ago, we thought our best basketball was still ahead of us. Getting this win and if we can Friday against Goshen would be a great sendoff going into sectionals."

Kenney had 27 points and Andershock 13. Andershock, who drew the assignment of guarding Indians leading scorer Justin Graciano, also put up seven rebounds, four steals and three blocks.

"We knew Graciano was the scoring engine behind L.C.," Mooney said. "He's a great player and we thought getting a bigger guy on him would help us and Joe played big. We didn't really have a good outside shooting night. We talked at halftime about going inside first then back outside and that helped flatten out their defense."

Graciano topped the Indians with 15, three more than Sellers. Nick Anderson had eight, all in the second quarter, when L.C. led at one point by as many as nine at 23-14.

"This means a lot, especially going into the sectional," Kenney said. "Some teams we played earlier, we could've beaten, but lost. I think we're ready."

Both Kenney and Mooney were happy they were able to get a big enough lead in the final seconds to have the seniors on the floor to punctuate senior night.

"Those are my brothers, on and off the court," Kenney said. "There's a lot of love. We wanted to win it for the seniors."

The group includes Goodwin, Buddy Jafee, Tommy Gotsch, Connor Donaldson and David Sigler.

"I'm very, very happy for those kids," Mooney said. "I stayed up late last night thinking of what to say. I didn't talk about their basketball skill sets. I talked about their characteristics. They're really fine young men."


Sports reporter

Jim was keeping standings on his chalkboard from the time he could print and keeping kickball stats in grade school at St. Bridget's. He covers all manner of prep sports for The Times and is a long-suffering Chicago Cubs fan.