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Marina boys’ basketball loses to Francis Parker in regionals

Marina's AJ Robinson makes a running jumper against Francis Parker on Tuesday night.
Marina’s AJ Robinson makes a running jumper in the first round of the CIF State Southern California Regional Division 3-A playoffs against Francis Parker on Tuesday night.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

For the Marina High School boys’ basketball team, the end feels like it might just be the beginning.

San Diego Francis Parker School defeated the Vikings 63-55 Tuesday at Marina High School in the first round of the CIF State Southern California Regional Division 3-A playoffs.

The loss ended the Vikings’ season, but Marina (15-9) looks to be building for the future. The team is loaded with young talent and will graduate just one senior from Tuesday’s starting lineup.

The loss frustrated Marina sophomore AJ Robinson, but he recognized his team’s potential going forward.

Marina's Kylle Magdangal makes a running layup against Francis Parker on Tuesday night.
Marina’s Kylle Magdangal makes a running layup in the first quarter of the first round of the CIF State Southern California Regional Division 3-A playoffs against Francis Parker on Tuesday night.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

“I’m really proud of our team and this season, but I don’t like how we finished it,” Robinson said. “We got all the way to the finish line and we limped over it.

“I know we are going to come back even stronger. We are a pretty young team. This whole team is going up. We are just going to be older, stronger and faster. I’m excited for this next year coming up.”

Eric Hodgkins scored a game-high 22 points, but the Vikings fell to the visiting Tartans 53-50 on Thursday in the CIF Southern Section Division 3A boys’ basketball final.

Francis Parker junior Camden McCormick led all players with 18 points and seven assists. Junior Martin Rudolf had a solid defensive game with three blocks and a steal for the Lancers while also contributing seven points. Junior Orion Samikoglu had a game-high three three-pointers in the victory.

Francis Parker (11-8) started the game at a frenetic pace that seemed difficult to maintain in a hot Marina gym, but the Lancers continued that intensity throughout the game. That delighted Francis Parker head coach Jim Tomey.

Marina's Bradley Fronek (14) drives into the paint and scores against Francis Parker's Camden McCormick on Tuesday night.
Marina’s Bradley Fronek (14) drives into the paint and scores against Camden McCormick (2) in first round of the CIF State Southern California Regional Division 3-A playoffs against Francis Parker on Tuesday night.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

“We drove a long way to get here,” Tomey said. “We had a full day of school and I told them, ‘If you aren’t ready to get off this bus and do the one thing we came up here to do, don’t get off.’ From start to finish, our guys battled and never quit and kept the pressure on and it resulted in a win.”

Marina senior Bradley Fronek felt the Francis Parker pressure firsthand.

“On defense, they were switching,” Fronek said. “We haven’t played a team that switched on-ball or off-ball screens. They were a very good three-point shooting team. We had to get out on them, and we couldn’t stop their three ball, and when we would be able to get out on them, they would just blow by and get easy layups.”

Fronek scored 12 points for Marina and added two assists. Robinson led the Vikings in scoring with 17 points. Junior Robert Aguirre hit two three-point shots for Marina, leading the team in that category.

Marina's AJ Robinson (42) has his dribble knocked free by Martin Rudolf (5) as he drives to the basket on Tuesday night.
Marina’s AJ Robinson (42) has his dribble knocked free by Martin Rudolf (5) as he drives to the basket in the first round of the CIF State Southern California Regional Division 3-A playoffs against Francis Parker on Tuesday night.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Francis Parker took an early 10-3 lead, thanks to its lightning-fast offensive attack. McCormick started the game with a hot hand, scoring six of his team’s first 10 points. Marina battled back at the end of the first quarter with a three-pointer by Aguirre and entered the second quarter trailing 17-15.

The Lancers pulled away in the second and third quarters, stretching their lead to as much as 12 points, while Marina struggled to collect offensive rebounds and make shots. Back-to-back late third quarter layups by Robinson brought Marina to within four points, but that was the closest they would get, as Francis Parker pulled away again in the final quarter.

Marina head coach Nick Racklin was impressed by Francis Parker but used the loss as motivation in the future.

“I think they were better than all the teams we’ve seen already in the playoffs,” Racklin said. “They can all shoot it. They play really fast, they are tougher than they look, and they can all really finish at the rim. They are just good. Our guys in the locker room, they all know we can hang with or beat both the teams we lost to. That confidence [will carry] over for the next six months, our guys will prepare to be better next year.”

Marina's Eric Hodgkins drives hard to the basket against Francis Parker on Tuesday night.
Marina’s Eric Hodgkins drives hard to the basket in the first quarter during the first round of the CIF State Southern California Regional Division 3-A playoffs against Francis Parker on Tuesday night.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

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