ST. MONICA — Senior Night. The season finale. A contest that came down to the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
Martin Scorsese couldn’t have scripted the drama better than that.
The St. Monica Mariners girls’ basketball team went on a 10-0 run late in the fourth quarter to notch a 64-59 win over the Cantwell-Sacred Heart Cardinals Tuesday night.
The Mariners were down five with 4:12 to go in the final frame when senior Melissa Maragnes scored a basket on an assist from senior forward Briana Harris. Maragnes was fouled on the play and converted the free throw, pulling St. Monica to within a deuce.
Then, junior guard Katrina Balatico made one of her three 3-pointers with 1:30 left in the quarter to give the Mariners the lead. They never looked back.
“The last couple of games, [Balatico’s] really been big for us,” Mariners coach John Skinner said.
To start the game, both teams came out of the locker room sluggish, but started to pick things up as the first half went on. In the second quarter, Harris dominated the offense for the Mariners, scoring 11 of their 16 points. But the Cardinals were able to withstand Harris’ onslaught, and led at the end of the first half, 35-28.
“Some of our focus was not there [in the first half],” Harris said.
St. Monica started to turn the tide with their defense in the second half, only giving up seven total points to Cantwell-Sacred Heart in the third quarter. Their defense was anchored by Maragnes, who finished with three blocked shots.
“I think I’m more of a defensive player, so that’s what my team is looking for,” said Maragnes, who also added 17 points and 11 rebounds to her overall line.
The game was tied with 5:35 left to go in the fourth quarter. A little more than a minute later, Cardinals senior point guard Priscilla Rodriguez, who finished with 13 points, made a three-pointer, giving her team a five point lead.
That was the last time Cantwell-Sacred Heart would score. After Balatico’s go-ahead three-point shot, Harris scored on a layup off of a Maragnes assist. Rodriguez had the chance to tie the game with less than a minute to go, but missed her three-point attempt. With less than 30 seconds left, Maragnes would make a layup off a Harris assist, putting the Mariners up by five and sealing the game.
“We just overcame everything, and I think we did 100 percent [and put] everything we had in this game,” Harris said.
Harris led St. Monica in scoring with 30 points, while also adding 11 rebounds. Junior guard Sylvia Garcia finished with 16 points for the Cardinals.
The Mariners finished the season 6-2 in the Camino Real League.