Marauders stun Bulldogs with late rally | Girls basketball

Smith scores winning basket with 3.8 seconds left in Wesco 4A game
By David Pan | Dec 21, 2016
Photo by: David Pan Mariner’s Zaria Smith attempts a shot against Mount Vernon’s Sam Silver during a Wesco 4A game Dec. 14 at Mariner High School.

Mariner woke up from its slumber just in time.

Senior Zaria Smith scored the winning basket with 3.8 seconds left in the fourth quarter, as the Marauders rallied to defeat Mount Vernon 52-51 in a Wesco 4A girls basketball game Dec. 14 at Mariner High School.

Mariner (1-1 in the league. 3-2 overall) trailed by as many as 12 points in  the fourth quarter before staging a furious comeback in the final two minutes of the game to pull out the victory.

Smith’s lay-up was a play designed to make opponents think the ball was going to senior guard Hannah Hezekiah. Instead, the pass went to Smith, who cut to the hoop.

“That’s a new in-bounds play we put in,” Mariner coach Corey Gibb said. “Luckily, it worked. We ran it three other times during the game and it didn’t work.”

The idea was to draw the defenders to Hezekiah, Smith said, and then sneak in the back way to the basket.

“It feels good,” Smith said of the victory. “But it kind of feels bad too because I feel like we should have worked hard from the jump, not just when we were down.”

The two teams were tied at 10 after the first quarter and the Marauders took a 28-24 halftime lead. The Bulldogs (1-2, 2-5) outscored Mariner 16-8 in the third quarter to take a 40-36 lead into the fourth quarter. Mount Vernon led 50-38 midway through the fourth quarter. Mariner cut the deficit to 50-42 on a basket by Smith at the 2:38 mark and kept chipping away. A 3-pointer by Hezekiah cut the deficit to 51-50 with 15 seconds left in the contest.

Mount Vernon then missed a pair of free throws with 13.4 seconds left, setting up the Marauders’ final offensive possession.

“It shouldn’t have come down to that,” Gibb said. “If we had played defense the way and shot the way we had the first four games, it wouldn’t have come down to making a shot with 3.8 seconds left.”

Gibb didn’t see the intensity he wanted to see from his players until late in the contest. Neither did Smith.

“I feel like our intensity wasn’t there, but their intensity was there and that’s how they got the lead on us,” Smith said.

The Bulldogs also were hitting their shots.

“Mount Vernon shot really well,” Gibb said. “Give them a lot of credit for shooting well.”

But as the pressure mounted in the fourth quarter, Mariner was able to finally respond.

“A little urgency is what we were lacking until that last couple of minutes when we, all of sudden, decided to play,” Gibb said.

Gibb also noted that Mariner struggled from the field throughout the game.

Hezekiah led all scorers with 22 points and Smith added 20.

“The last two minutes we executed. We scored,” Gibb said. “Then we were able to get our fouls. They didn’t execute their free throws. We needed to rebound and we did. We needed to score on the other end and we did.”

Mount Vernon made only 1 of 6 free throws and missed the front end of two 1-and-1 opportunites in the fourth quarter, while Mariner connected 3 of 4 free throws.

“Sometimes you’ve got to win ugly,” Gibb said. “That’s what that was.”

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