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Mariner boys storm back to edge Cape High, 50-48

December 5, 2017
By PETE SISK (sports@breezenewspapers.com) , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Backed into a corner, the Mariner Tritons turned to an old friend Thursday night: pressure defense.

The Tritons rallied from a 39-29 deficit after three quarters to pull out a 50-48 overtime win against archrival Cape Coral at Mariner's Frank Morris Gymnasium.

"Yeah, pressure and defense," Tritons coach Keeth Jones said. "We did a lot of preseason stuff from the end of last year, getting in shape and lifting weights, getting strong. We just wore them down in the fourth quarter."

A large and vocal crowd, with strong support for both schools, gave Thursday's contest a tournament atmosphere.

"This was our first game, and in this environment it took them so long to settle down and play," Jones said.

For three quarters, Cape was making Mariner, the second-best team in the state at the end of last season, look like the second-best team on its own floor.

Cape Coral, which had already won two games while Mariner waited until Thursday to open its season, led 28-20 at halftime and was up 35-24 with 3:40 to go in the third period. When the fourth began, the Seahawks still led by 10.

The fourth quarter was all Mariner. Not an offensive explosion by any means, just a reasonable 14 points. The difference was the suffocating defense that held the Seahawks to four points in the period.

"That's why it's four quarters," Cape Coral coach Brandon Sensor said. "We knew it was going to be tough.

"We wanted this game, win or lose, to teach us what we need to do and what we need to get better at."

Bryan Rohrbach hit two free throws with 2:37 remaining to bring Mariner within 43-41, and Jahmel Myers' layup tied it at 43-all with 1:10 to play. Neither team could make another shot drop, so the game went into overtime.

"We played great defense," Jones said. "We sat down on defense and really played well. And that was the difference."

In OT, the scoring all occurred in the last 1:24. Nehemiah Darrett hit a reverse layup to give Mariner its first lead since the opening minutes of the game. Bryan Markovich pulled Cape back even at 45 with 1:02 to go.

Dakota Deveretuil's 3-pointer pushed Mariner ahead for good, and Elijah Adams made it 50-45. That would be the decisive basket, as Cape mustered a 3-pointer in the final seconds.

"We see what we're not great at, and what we need to work on," Sensor said. "That's what the game's all about. But I'm glad we're playing this game early in the year so we can get right to practice tomorrow and start working on it. Next time we'll execute better."

Myers, who has signed to play for the University of New Orleans next season, scored 22 points and pulled won eight rebounds for Mariner. Rohrbach had 10 points and five boards.

Markovich had eight points and nine rebounds for Cape Coral. Jonathan Moreno led the Seahawks in scoring with nine points. Harvin Francois added eight before fouling out in OT.

"We fought hard, and Mariner fought hard too," Sensor said. "We've just got to get better."

If any of the Tritons had thought a return to the state championship game would be a cakewalk, Thursday's battle with the Seahawks put that tought to rest.

"They knew it was going to be a battle," Jones said. "We've got only one guy, Jahmel, who played a lot last year. So we're inexperienced, so tonight really helped. We made some big shots, but we played great on defense when it really counted."

 
 
 

 

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