Mariner shuts down Jackson | Girls basketball

Marauders limit Wolfpack to only 3 points in 2nd quarter
By David Pan | Feb 07, 2018
Photo by: David R Pan Mariner’s Taliyah Clark drives to the basket against Jackson’s Megan Mattison during a Wesco 4A game Wednesday, Jan. 31, at Mariner High School.

Mariner turned up the defensive pressure on Jackson.

The Marauders limited the Timberwolves to one basket and one free throw in the second quarter and then withstood a fourth quarter rally to pull out a much-needed 52-41 victory in a Wesco 4A girls basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 31, at Mariner High School.

Mariner outscored Jackson 16-3 in the second period to extend a 10-9 advantage to a 26-12 halftime lead. The Wolfpack scored 48 points in the first half in the two teams’ first meeting of the season in early January, which was won by Jackson 71-54.

“We played great defense,” Mariner coach Corey Gibb said. “That was probably the best half of defense we played all year.”

Seniors Hannah Hezekiah and Denisa Grebovic were assigned the responsibilities of guarding Jackson’s top scorers – Olivia Skibiel and Megan Mattison.

Skibiel was held to 6 points by Hezekiah, and Mattison, who torched the Marauders for 28 points earlier in the month, scored only 10 points against Grebovic.

“I thought both of them just did phenomenal,” Gibb said of the two seniors.

The rest of the Marauders helped control the glass and scrambled after every loose ball, Gibb added.

“We were shutting down their main scorers that normally score in double digits,” Hezekiah said.

Freshman Taliyah Clark scored a game-high 24 points and Hezekiah finished with 17 points. Grebovic had 6 points. Hezekiah said that Mariner’s success on defense helped on the offensive end.

“We definitely just had a flow going with us because we were playing good defense,” she said. “We just kind of made plays on the go. We didn’t plan it. She (Clark) was just there. We made plays. We made it happen.”

Mariner led 33-20 at the start of the fourth quarter but then the Timberwolves finally started hitting their shots.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Mattison cut the Mariner advantage to 37-30 midway through the fourth quarter. Later, Mattison made two free throws to bring Jackson to within five points – 39-34 – with 2:22 remaining in the game.

Mariner’s Tina Duangmani then had a putback basket and Hezekiah made two free throws to extend her team’s advantage to 43-34. Another putback basket and two more free throws by Hezekiah extended the Mariner lead to 47-34 with just over a minute left.

Though Gibb admitted he was a little rattled when Jackson drew close, the Marauders didn’t show any nerves on the court.

“I think we learned from early in the year and the mistakes we made down the stretch,” Gibb said. “We’ve got to make sure we stay composed. I think they grew up tonight down the stretch as a team.”

Gibb also liked what he saw on the offensive end.

“We were patient. We did a better job of finding open players and believing in each other,” Gibb said. “Being aggressive, it’s nice when a couple of shots go down and you attack. Things seemed to go our way tonight.”

The victory over Jackson and a 47-30 win over Cascade on Friday, Feb. 2, helped reverse a rough stretch of games for Mariner.

Coming into Wednesday’s contest, the Marauders had lost four of their last five games. Mariner faced Jackson in last year’s district tournament and may well see them again.

“We needed a good game against a good team and I think that as a group we did well,” Gibb said. “The second time around is always interesting to see what happens. Now we’ve split with them. We proved that we can play with them so who knows what’s going to happen in the playoffs.”

For Hezekiah, it’s clear what Mariner needs to focus on the rest of the season.

“We need to keep playing good defense,” she said. “We need to have this effort against every team we play.”

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