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River Grove, 01/05/13--Guerin Prep's Joe Binkowski goes up for a layup as Juarez's Jesua Mora and Rafael Corral defend. Guerin Prep High School hosted Juarez High School in boys basketball Saturday evening. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Guerin dominated in the paint and survived a 37-point effort by Juarez’s Henry Rodriguez as the Gators cruised to a 71-53 nonconference victory Saturday night in River Grove.
Guerin (4-8) took charge early in the second quarter when Ricky Santiago sandwiched a pair of three-pointers between a two-point shot for all of his eight points. The streak to ignited a 9-2 Gators run that gave the hosts a 30-23 advantage following a 21-21 first-period tie.
Guerin’s other four starters all scored in double figures, led by junior Anthony Marra with 12 points. Joe Binkowski and Gavin Byrne both connected for 11, while Kevin Kress finished with 10 points, all in the first half.
“Early in the season we had to settle for a lot of jump shots, but we’ve been working on looking to get the ball inside more so we can establish a good post game. That makes the outside game a lot easier,” said Guerin head coach Marcus Green, whose team scored 47 points in the paint and was 14-of-23 from the foul line. “Today we moved the ball well. They have learned not to catch the ball and dribble and started to catch and look to pass right away, and we found the open man on cuts that led to a lot of points inside.”
Guerin junior Mike Marra, Anthony’s twin brother, came off the bench and sparked the offense with eight points, six rebounds, a blocked shot and a steal. He said that even though he has started several times this season he doesn’t mind contributing off the bench.
“It doesn’t matter to me if I come off the bench or start, I have no preference. I’ll do whatever the team needs. If I can provide a spark off the bench, great,” Marra said. “It’s a team game. It’s not about me, so whatever they need me to do I’ll do.”
The Eagles’ Rodriguez put on an amazing offensive display as he scored 20 of his team’s 29 first-half points and 17 of its 24 in the final two quarters. Rodriguez hit from everywhere for Juarez (4-12), firing in 14 baskets from inside the arc and one from downtown. He also was 8-of-10 from the charity stripe.