By Jacob Wilson/Garden Grove Journal
We know one thing about the Mariners. They know how to get off to a great start.
Pacifica won its first three Empire League games, all on the road, and led by two after one quarter at Cypress. But the Mariners could not hold on and lost to the Centurions 76-59 last Friday.
“They outplayed us,” Pacifica head coach David Friedman said. “They deserved to win.”
The Mariners fell to 3-1 in league games with the loss and 12-7 overall. They are tied for second place with Cypress and trail first place Valencia by one game.
Despite the big loss to Pacifica’s biggest rival, Friedman is happy with the team’s play so far, especially with so many early road games.
“I’m very pleased with where we are,” Friedman said. “We opened league with four straight road games and we’re 3-1 and in second place. It’s not a bad place to be.”
Friedman expects the winning to continue for the Mariners. “We have five straight home games coming up now so we’ll be all right.”
Led by Chris Dunn’s 12 points, the Mariners led 18-16 at the end of the first quarter.
But the Mariners went quiet in the second quarter, scoring just 10 points total as the Centurions exploded for 25. Chasen Conner scored five early points for the Mariners but the Centurions went on a 20-3 run over the final five minutes to take a commanding 41-28 lead.
“When they switched to zone it slowed us down,” Friedman said. “We looked like we went from fourth gear to second gear.”
The Centurions outscored the Mariners by seven in the third to take a 20-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Dunn made four free throws late in the quarter and the Mariners’ pressure defense came up with a couple of steals but the Mariners couldn’t cut into the Centurions’ lead.
Cypress scored the last six points of the quarter and led 62-42 after three.
“We didn’t hit shots. You know the name of this game is hitting shots,” Friedman said. “We had some very non-aggressive possessions in the middle quarters.”
Cypress pushed the lead to 22 points early in the fourth but the Mariners scored eight straight points to cut the deficit to 14 with 5:21 left in the game.
Pacifica trailed by 13 with three minutes to go but the Cypress scored five straight points, including three free throws and held on for the 17-point win.
“We got it going again in the fourth quarter but we dug ourselves too big of a hole,” Friedman said.
“We were down 20 at Loara but you can’t expect to come back two games in a row in the Empire League. This league’s too tough and the teams are too good.”
Dunn led the Mariners with 22 points. Conner added 11 points for Pacifica. Jimmy Jackson scored 24 points for Cypress to lead all scorers.
The Mariners hosted Valencia on Wednesday Jan. 27 (results too late for our print deadline; go to www.ggjournal.com for the results of the game.
On Friday the Mariners are home against Katella. Both games will tip off at 7 p.m.