Defense key in comeback win for Marina girls’ basketball in regional playoff opener
The Marina High girls’ basketball team had more than a week to wonder what might have been following a heartbreaking defeat to end its run in the CIF Southern Section playoffs.
New life in the form of the program’s first appearance in the state playoffs since 1998 has the Vikings reinvigorated, and if possible, they ratcheted up the defensive intensity.
Marina created 21 steals to key a comeback victory, as the Vikings beat visiting Lompoc 47-39 on Tuesday in a CIF State Southern California Regional Division V playoff opener.
“We’re defensive-based, and if we are playing good defense, it creates a lot of offense for us,” Marina coach Daniel Roussel said. “We get steals that turn into layups, or at least opportunities. Tonight was one of those games where we were really good defensively all night.”
Freshman guard Rylee Bradley had 15 points, 10 rebounds and five steals to lead Marina (18-15), which trailed 11-6 after the first quarter and didn’t hold a lead until Maria Tejeda finished a layup to make it 19-18 on a fastbreak led by Bradley with 1:45 left in the first half.
“I just want to win,” Bradley said. “I want to make sure the girls are having fun because it’s been a long time since we’ve made CIF. … Hopefully, we get a banner, but if we don’t get a banner, I feel like the experience is good for all the seniors that haven’t made it this far.”
Marina received contributions across the lineup. Senior guard and captain Tiana To had eight points and two assists. Sophomores Sydnie Smith and Tejeda each scored eight points off the bench.
Senior wing Kim Nguyen had four points and a game-high six steals, with Bradley and Tejeda each securing five steals to help the Vikings turn defense into instant offense. The steals also helped Marina overcome a 47-29 disadvantage in rebounding.
“How we got away [from Lompoc], it was the momentum, mostly attacking, breaking the press,” To said. “Multiple times, they had to switch around their press because we were attacking so much. That’s what got us, really, and the defensive energy and the bench energy.”
Marina will travel to face top-seeded Cerritos Gahr (26-7) on Thursday. The Vikings lost to the Gladiators 39-38 in the Southern Section Division 5AA semifinals.
Cierra Bailey had 12 points and 10 rebounds to pace Lompoc (18-14), which was the Central Section Division 4 champion. Makayla Figueroa scored 10 points.
Roussel said he put Mia Grasse and Tejeda on Figueroa as defensive stoppers, and the Braves’ senior point forward was held to single digits until making a three-pointer in the waning seconds.
“She only knows one speed,” Roussel said of Tejeda. “She plays really hard all the time. She’s so aggressive, probably one of our two most aggressive defenders. She just does anything we ask her to do. She sacrifices her body for loose balls, she takes charges. She just fights, and I think people hate playing against her. She’s one of those girls that you don’t want guarding you.”
CIF State Southern California Regional Division V playoffs
Marina 47, Lompoc 39
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Lompoc 11 - 12 - 7 - 9 — 39
Marina 6 - 17 - 14 - 10 — 47
L — Bailey 12, Figueroa 10, Mangino 6, Garcia 5, Alcantara 4, Terrones 2.
3-pt. goals — Figueroa 2, Mangino 2.
Fouled out — None.
Technicals — None.
M — Bradley 15, To 8, Smith 8, Tejeda 8, Nguyen 4, Grasse 2, Alaniz 2.
3-pt. goals — Tejeda 1.
Fouled out — None.
Technicals — None.
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