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Curie’s balanced attack proves too much for St. Charles North

Defenses have had good luck shutting down the top scorers during the 90th Pontiac Holiday Tournament. Curie’s balance makes that difficult to plan for. 

Curie’s Phoenix Bullock (1) draws a foul and makes the basket.
Curie’s Phoenix Bullock (1) draws a foul and makes the basket.
Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

PONTIAC, Ill. — Defenses have had good luck shutting down the top scorers during the 90th Pontiac Holiday Tournament. Curie’s balance makes that difficult to plan for.

“That might be the key to our team,” Curie coach Mike Oliver said. “We don’t even know who our best player is. We go with whoever is cooking that day. That’s the strength of our team. We try to go with a full house against a pair.’’

St. Charles North led the Condors, the two-time defending champions, by four with two minutes left in the third quarter.

It was all clicking for the North Stars. Ethan Marlowe, a 6-8 senior, was dominating in the post and making three-pointers. Rugged and talented Max Love, a 6-5 senior, was a matchup nightmare for Curie.

Everything changed when Marlowe and Love headed to the bench with four fouls. Curie went on a run to retake the lead and remained in control in the fourth quarter. Marlowe and Love never found their spark again, and the Condors won the quarterfinal 63-54.

“[Chikasi] Ofoma came up big in the fourth quarter,” Oliver said. “He started maneuvering and using his strength and height. It got [Marlowe] in foul trouble, too, which was big. But we just started moving the ball and making easy shots in the fourth quarter.”

Ofoma had 19 points and eight rebounds. He scored 10 in the fourth quarter.

Marlowe has been the best player at the tournament through the first two days. He had 19 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. Love had 12 points and seven rebounds, and his brother Jude scored 18 and grabbed six rebounds for the North Stars (7-3).

“[Marlowe] is tough, and their offense is really good,” Ofoma said. “They move without the ball really well and set good off-ball screens. It’s hard to guard them.”

St. Charles North only managed one field goal in the last 4:28. When Marlowe and Love weren’t hot, the North Stars struggled to score.

Phoenix Bullock scored 17 and sophomore Carlos Harris added nine points and seven rebounds for the Condors (14-0). Curie will face the Joliet West vs. Benet winner in the semifinals on Thursday.