Mariner’s second-half rally comes up short against Mount Vernon | Boys basketball
Despite a much-improved performance, Mariner came up short against Mount Vernon.
The Bulldogs pulled away from the Marauders in the fourth quarter to claim a 61-54 victory in a Wesco 4A boys basketball game Jan. 20 at Mariner High School.
The 7-point loss was much closer than the 68-49 loss the first time the two teams met in mid-December.
“We played better offensively,” Mariner coach Tevin Dillon said. “We got more stops on defense. We did the big things. We didn’t do the little things. Last time, we didn’t do the big things, so we played better.”
Senior guard Drake Cardoza scored a team-high 15 points and senior guard Jalen Hayes added 12 points. Junior Edwin Bouah had 9 points.
Mount Vernon was led by seniors Bryce Jones and Nic Sokol, who each scored 14 points.
The Bulldogs led 29-21 at halftime before the Marauders staged a rally in the third quarter and the two squads went into the final period tied at 42.
Mariner (1-8 in the league. 3-13 overall) took a 46-43 lead on a 3-pointer by Cardoza at the start of the fourth quarter and then maintained a 48-45 advantage on a basket by Bouah at the 6:53 mark. The Marauders had an opportunity to extend their lead but missed two free throws. The misses foreshadowed problems Mariner had from the foul line. The Marauders made only 5 of 14 free throws in the fourth quarter.
“It’s a hard thing. There’s only so much time you can spend every day,” Dillon said. “It’s something that the kids have got to do. I try to put them in tense situations in practice. It’s a confidence thing.
“We’ve got to get ourselves to the line and make free throws.”
Mariner also saw Mount Vernon grab several key rebounds late in the game.
“We have to box out better,” Dillon said. “We’ve got to be more hungry. We’ve got to get the boards.”
Mount Vernon tied the score at 48 on a 3-pointer by senior Bryce Jones at the 5:20 mark. The Bulldogs (3-6, 7-8) then took a 50-48 lead on a shot by senior Mitchell Factor midway through the final period and outscored Mariner 11-6 the rest of the way, as the Marauders struggled from the field.
“Anytime it’s a close game we all learn. I learn,” the first-year head coach said. “The coaches and the kids learn.”
Mariner also lost 78-55 to Monroe in a Jan. 24 matchup. Hayes scored 15 points. Cardoza and Bouah each contributed 13 points.
Mariner’s younger players are learning what it’s like to be in tight contests.
“I’m trying to get these younger guys up and going, competing and playing at a high level,” Dillon said. “Whenever we’re playing in a close game, I love to get them in. It’s off and on some nights with some of the younger guys. It’s hit and miss. They’ve stepped up for the most part.”
Both Bouah and junior post Harmandeep Singh had solid efforts against the Bulldogs.
“(Singh) is contributing a lot. We’re going to put a lot into him for the rest of the season,” Dillon said. “Edwin played well. He’s doing a better job of being a leader and being a point guard.”
Dillon wants to continue to see his players to make progress.
“We’ve got to keep growing,” he said. “I want to see each individual grow and then grow together as a team.”