Mariner upends Kamiak to snap three-game losing streak | Boys basketball

Septimo-Ruiz scores 19 to help Marauders nail down playoff spot
By David Pan | Feb 06, 2019
Photo by: David R Pan Mariner’s Edwin Bouah guards Kamiak’s Glenn Wabaluku during a Wesco 4A game Friday, Feb. 1, at Kamiak High School.

Mariner desperately needed a victory.

The Marauders had dropped three straight games coming into a key Wesco 4A boys basketball game against district rival Kamiak, who were right behind them in the standings.

Junior Diego Septimo-Ruiz answered the call, scoring a team-high 19 points with five 3-pointers, to help lead the Marauders to a 59-43 victory over the Knights Friday, Feb. 1, at Kamiak High School.

The victory clinched the league’s No. 4 berth to this week’s Wes-King District tournament and boosted Mariner’s spirits following the most difficult stretch of the regular season.

“We had three tough losses,” Mariner coach Tevin Dillon said. “We’ve been suffering through injuries. … Seeing guys bounce back and play tough and compete, that’s what it was all about.”

The Marauders (7-6 in the league, 11-8 overall), however, had to weather a sizzling start by the Knights (5-8, 8-11), who took an early 13-5 lead.

Junior Charlie Powers led the charge, scoring Kamiak’s first 13 points and later finishing the quarter with 16 of the Knights’ 18 points.

“I just started hitting shots,” said Powers, who scored a game-high 28 points. “I was able to get some fast break points. … I was able to get going really quick.”

The Marauders quickly cut the Kamiak advantage to 18-14 with Septimo-Ruiz sinking a 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter. Mariner then seized a 24-21 lead with a 10-3 run in the third quarter. Septimo-Ruiz connected on two more 3-point shots to go with two baskets by Henry Avra, who finished with 10 points.

“He (Septimo-Ruiz) shot well,” Dillon said. “He was big for us. When he’s shooting like that, it’s night and day for us.”

Septimo-Ruiz noted that Mariner was able to get out on the fast break, which helped free him up.

“We’ve got to get our points off defense and the fast break,” he said. “That’s when I can get open and shoot my shot, which is what we did. There are some nights when the ball won’t go in. But tonight it felt good.”

Kamiak coach Brandon Corsi said that the Knights were well aware of Septimo-Ruiz.

“He hit some really tough shots,” Corsi said. “We had guys right there on him on the close out with high hands. He still was able to knock them down. Credit to him. He’s a real good shooter and definitely a key piece to their success.”

Mariner led 35-28 at halftime and extended the lead to 48-38 as the teams headed for the fourth quarter. The Marauders continued to pull away from the Knights with an 8-2 run to start the final period.

“We had the lead and we had to keep pushing and not let them come back,” Septimo-Ruiz said. “It was our game.”

Dillon credited the defensive play of senior Elijah Harrell for helping to somewhat contain Powers after his first quarter fireworks.

“I looked at him and I said, ‘Listen. You need to be disciplined every time on the transition. Get on him,’” Dillon said to Harrell.

Powers was limited to only one 3-point goal in the second quarter.

“Elijah is our big-time defender,” Septimo-Ruiz said. “We need him to have intensity. He can guard anybody in the league. He’s capable of that.”

Powers started off the third quarter with back-to-back baskets, prompting Dillon to again pull Harrell off the bench and assign him the task of defending Powers, who would make only one more 3-pointer the rest of the game.

Corsi agreed that Mariner’s defense turned out to be the downfall for his squad.

Early on the Knights were having success on offense getting the ball in the paint and finding Powers and other players when they were open.

“They did a great job, Mariner did, of kind of shutting down our ability to get in the lane,” Corsi said. “Their aggressive and physical defense definitely made it tough overall for our kids to work the ball around in our offense.”

Kamiak missed a number of shots and second-chance opportunities at the basket, while Mariner excelled in both areas.

“The ball just didn’t go in the hole,” Corsi said. They had a lot of their opportunities like that go in.”

While the Knights did a better job of defending Mariner’s 3-point shooting in the second half, Corsi said, the Marauders had success crashing the offensive boards.

“It really was difficult for us to give them one shot,” Corsi said.

“I thought we brought a lot of energy, but we weren’t able to hit as many shots as them,” Powers added.

Senior guard Edwin Bouah finished with 12 points for Mariner, who will host Skyline at 7 p.m., Friday, Feb. 8, in a loser-out Wes-King District playoff game.

“We feel good,” Septimo-Ruiz said. “We’ve got to pick it up in practice defensively and get ready for the playoffs because there are big teams in Kingco. We’ve got to be ready for them.”

Kamiak’s postseason hopes were still yet to be determined as of the Beacon’s deadline. The Knights were scheduled to host Lake Stevens on Wednesday, Feb. 9. A Kamiak victory would clinch the league’s No. 5 seed, while a loss would force a third game between the two teams to determine who advances to the district tournament.

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