By DANIEL ARCHULETA
ST. MONICA A last-second loss to La Salle on Friday may have cost the Mariners a chance at the Camino Real League title, but Head Coach Tony Depa still likes his team’s chances of making the playoffs.
Currently tied for second with St. Paul — behind first place La Salle — St. Monica’s boys basketball team (11-9 overall, 3-1 in league) will continue its march toward postseason play tonight at home against Mary Star of the Sea. Depa said his team looks poised to earn the victory and erase the memory of Friday’s La Salle game.
“We pretty much lost the biggest heartbreaker you could imagine,” he said of the close loss. “We played as well as we could for four quarters.”
The Mariners held a two-point lead with 30 seconds to go with top scorer Ryan Featherston at the free throw line shooting a pair. He missed both attempts, giving La Salle (13-6 overall, 4-0 in league) the opportunity to steal a 66-61 road win.
“It was as rough as it gets,” he added.
The loss on Friday was just the first of consecutive losses for the Mariners. St. Monica lost to St. Anthony in a non-league matchup on Monday. It was the second time the two teams played and the second time St. Anthony and its height advantage won the day, this time 67-55.
Despite the pair of losses, Depa said a spot in the playoffs should be in his team’s future. If both St. Monica and La Salle win out, the second meeting between the teams on Feb. 8 may determine the league crown. If both teams finish with identical records and St. Monica wins the second matchup, the two will share the title.
“It looks very favorable for us to finish no worse than second in league,” Depa said.
There are three automatic playoff births awarded to the Camino Real League.
Making a playoff push may have gotten a bit easier with the return of junior center Brandon Capiro, who has missed most of the season with back problems.
“This really adds to our depth,” Depa said. “We’re finally 100 percent healthy.”
Samohi girls roll on<p>
A pair of impressive wins over the weekend have Samohi’s girls basketball team looking like a lock for the postseason.
The weekend began with a road win over Ocean League rival Culver City on Friday and was followed with an upset non-league win over Troy. Troy was 16-1 and ranked eighth in the state by MaxPreps heading into the game. Samohi was ranked 25th. With the win, Samohi has improved its ranking to 19th.
Next for Samohi (14-5 overall, 4-0 in league) is an Ocean League matchup at Hawthorne tonight at 6 p.m.