Mariner’s postseason run ends at state regionals | Boys basketball
Last updated 2/27/2019 at Noon
Mariner’s magical playoff ride came to an end at the 4A state regional tournament.
Kentridge used a 12-2 run midway through the fourth quarter to extend a precarious 4-point lead to 14 points and hung on for a 64-50 victory in a loser-out boys basketball game Saturday, Feb. 23, at Auburn Mountainview High School in Auburn.
The loss ended what was a significant turnaround season for the Marauders, who finished 14-10 overall. Mariner was coming off back-to-back 3-17 and 3-18 campaigns.
“We started from the bottom,” senior guard Edwin Bouah said. “To come to the state regionals means everything.”
Mariner coach Tevin Dillon credited Bouah and fellow seniors Chris Hendrickson, Elijah Harrell, Ryan Santosuosso and Jayden Smith for helping to turn the program around. The trip to the state regionals was the first time the Marauders advanced to state since the 2008-09 season, which was Dillon’s senior year at Mariner High School.
“The seniors, they came and they worked hard,” Dillon said. “They got to where they deserved to be. It’s been a good season. There have been ups and downs. These guys have worked hard to get where we’re at.”
Bouah noted how close the players were on and off the court.
“The key to our success was loving each other,” he said. “We pride ourselves in loving each other and we wanted to go places.”
Dillon agreed that the bond among the Marauders was special.
“This group really was a close group,” the Mariner coach said. “They were a family. That’s what worked out so well. They played for each other.”
The Marauders took a 25-24 halftime lead before falling behind 37-31 late in the third quarter. Junior guard Diego Septimo-Ruiz then hit a 3-point shot at the buzzer and Mariner went into the final period trailing 37-34. The Marauders stayed with the Chargers (20-7) for the first four minutes before Kentridge eventually pulled away.
“Our defense broke down. They hit some big shots,” Dillon said. “We didn’t come out and play tough defense. Their posts were playing well. They outrebounded us.”
Mariner was unable to close the gap on Kentridge early in the quarter mainly because of struggles from the field. Bouah did his best, connecting on two baskets and a free throw.
“Not hitting shots kills your momentum,” Dillon said. “They capitalized on that by extending the lead. It’s tough. In those moments, that’s when we needed to get better shots, get lay-ups.”
The Chargers outscored the Marauders 18-11 in the final four minutes of the fourth quarter.
“They played really tough defense on us,” Bouah said. “They were not letting us do anything. They weren’t missing a shot.”
Bouah said the team appreciated the support of the community. Mariner’s band, cheerleaders and fans packed Auburn-Mountainview’s gym easily outsizing the Kentridge contingent.
“I’m thankful for everything they’ve done for us,” Bouah said.
Mariner returns a solid core of players, including juniors Simon Fanuel, Tony MacArthur and Septimo-Ruiz and sophomore Henry Avra.
“We’re losing some talent in our seniors,” Dillon said. “But it just means the younger guys have to pick up the pieces. They will do that.”