Nick Marusich scored a game-high 27 points and Brian Kenney added 21 Wednesday night to lead Servite High School to a 73-53 victory over Gahr in the final of the Katella tournament at Katella High School.
Marusich, a 6-foot 6-inch center who averaged 23 points in the three-game tournament, had expected a considerable battle from Gahr’s 6-10 Joey Cubit.
But after scoring only two points in the first quarter, Cubit left the game early in the second with a sprained ankle suffered after making a rebound. Cubit returned in the fourth quarter, but played sparingly.
Gahr’s other mainstay, guard Mark Charbonnet, did not play at all after spraining an ankle in Tuesday night’s semifinal victory over Millikan.
“Charbonnet is a 20-points a game player,” Gahr Coach Vern Stewart said. “We lost by 18. What does that tell you?”
The message must have been lost on Servite. The Friars played an intense game from the start, outscoring the Gladiators, 22-17, in the first quarter, despite heavy defensive pressure.
“Our players just decided they wanted it from the moment they left the locker room,” Friar Coach Thomas Hamilton said. “The main thing for us was maintaining our intensity.”
With the absence of Cubit in the second quarter, Servite found an easy inside target in Marusich, who scored 15 points in the period. The Friars took a 37-30 lead for the half.
Kenney, named the tournament’s most valuable player, also sparked Servite in the third period. Kenney, a 6-1 guard, made several fast break layups and a three-point shot to boost Servite’s lead to 56-36 with 2:12 remaining in the quarter.
Though Cubit returned for Gahr in the fourth, Servite continued its intense man-to-man defense, holding him to three points.
“I didn’t think it would be like this,” Hamilton said. “I really thought the game would be much tougher. But our players just didn’t let their (Gahr’s) offense flow.”
Sophomore forward Steve Marusich added 10 points and 6 rebounds for the Friars.
Eddie Martinez led Gahr (7-5) with 15 points and Cubit finished with 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
In the third-place game:
Millikan 60, Katella 35--Frankie Edwards scored 12 points, Deon Robinson and Craig Gordon added 10 each to lead the Rams (8-4). Ian Donnelly scored a game-high 21 points for Katella.
In the consolation championship:
Western 62, Bell 53--Chris Bowen (15 points) and Joe Romero (12 points) led Western.