For the first half and first 2½ minutes of the second half, Marina High hung with one of the top boys’ basketball programs in the state. Jakob Alamudun kept the Vikings in it against Mater Dei, ranked No. 5 by CalHiSports.com.
The 6-foot-4 senior banked in a tough shot between two defenders in the first quarter. Midway through the second quarter, he knocked down an NBA three-pointer on the left wing. With 12 seconds to go before halftime, he didn’t hesitate to pull up halfway between the three-point line and half-court line.
Alamudun made the shot.
Four seconds later, he almost produced another three-point play before the first half expired. He missed the free throw and Marina went into halftime down by six points.
Then early in the third quarter, Alamudun needed a break. He took a seat. And in a matter of a couple minutes, the Monarchs scored 10 straight points, turning a two-possession game into a 16-point lead.
Alamudun returned and ended the Vikings’ drought with a layup. By then, it was too late. Mater Dei was on its way to opening the Charlie Wilkins Memorial Tournament with a 74-43 win over Marina at Westminster High on Tuesday.
Alamudun finished with a game-high 22 points, but the Monarchs, with their length, made the Lehigh University-bound forward work all night. Alamudun made nine of 13 shots and two of three from behind the arc.
“We weren’t really running our plays because they were tough on defense,” said Alamudun, who had 14 of his team’s 23 points at halftime. “They’re longer than most teams we’ve played. It was something we weren’t used to.”
The Monarchs (8-1) have size everywhere, with 6-9 Wilhelm Breidenbach, 6-7 Logan Cremonesi, 6-6 Clay Donohue, 6-4 Devin Askew, 6-4 Aidan Prukop and 6-3 Ryan Evans, and they used it to their advantage.
Outside of Alamudun, the Vikings shot 21%. Marina (6-7) also turned the ball over 18 times.
Mater Dei kept getting its hands on Marina passes, deflecting them and running the other way for fastbreak points. Askew had two layups in transition in the third, a quarter in which he scored nine of his team-high 19 points.
The Monarchs outscored the Vikings 25-6 in the third quarter. Mater Dei made 10 of 18 shots in the third, including five of 10 three-pointers, and took a 54-29 lead into the final quarter.
“I thought we did a better job coming out and playing defense, and putting pressure,” said Monarchs coach Gary McKnight, whose team overcame its second slow start in the last three games.
McKnight attributed the sluggish play in the first half to having a young team.
Evans, a junior, finished with 14 points, sophomore Harrison Hornery contributed 11 points, Breidenbach, a sophomore, added 10 points and nine rebounds, and Prukop, a junior, had nine points, seven rebounds and five steals.
Evans, who hit three three-pointers, also guarded Alamudun for most of the game. And his teammates helped out whenever Alamudun made a move to the basket.
Evans and the Monarchs advanced to play Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos (7-3) in the semifinals of the eight-team tournament on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. The other semifinal will feature Long Beach St. Anthony against the winner of Wednesday’s game between Riverside Notre Dame and Rialto Eisenhower. St. Anthony defeated Villa Park 75-60 on Tuesday.
“I schedule tough teams for us, so that by the time we get down the road, you know, we’re tested,” said Marina coach Nick Racklin, whose team plays Westminster in the consolation bracket on Wednesday at 6 p.m. “You look at all the other teams in our [Wave League], they’re playing in these weak tournaments and weak [nonleague games], and we’re playing people. It’s good for us.”
Charlie Wilkins Memorial Tournament
Mater Dei 74, Marina 43
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Mater Dei 16 – 13 – 25 – 20 — 74
Marina 7 – 16 – 6 – 14 — 43
MD – Askew 19, Evans 14, Hornery 11, Breidenbach 10, Prukop 9, Donohue 4, Peralta 4, Cremonesi 2, Quiette 1.
3-pt. goals – Evans 3, Askew 2, Breidenbach 1, Prukop 1, Hornery 1.
Fouled out – None.
Technicals – None.
M – Alamudun 22, Barnella 8, Keeler 5, Hodgkins 3, Jensen 2, Aguirre 2, Fronek 1.
3-pt. goals – Alamudun 2, Barnella 2, Hodgkins 1.
Fouled out – None.