The dream of reaching the CIF playoffs in boys’ basketball remains alive at St. Monica despite a week when the Mariners lost all three of their games.
St. Monica began the final five games of its regular season schedule this week with 11 victories, one shy of the number required to qualify for the playoffs.
“It was a rough week,” said Coach Tony Depa. “We have to take care of business now.”
St. Monica is attempting to earn a playoff berth for the first time in four years. It would be a major boost to the school’s athletic program after the football team failed to win a game this season.
However, St. Monica lost to Cathedral 42-33, to St. Paul 62-41 and to first place La Salle 55-38.
There were some highlights.
Against Cathedral, St. Monica was tied with three minutes to play. But the Mariners were then outscored, 9-0.
“Our defense was good in that game,” said Depa.
Against LaSalle, which is ranked fifth in its CIF division, St. Monica’s intermission deficit was only 17-13. But scoring star Bryce Hamaguchi made only two of 17 shots and backcourt partner Jonathon Azur remained out with a knee injury.
Azur has been cleared to practice and might return this week.
“We expected to miss him but we didn’t know how much,” said Depa. “As it turns out, his absence has hurt us tremendously.”
St. Monica began this week with a win in a non-league game against Brethren Christian, 47-44. They opposed Mary Star Wednesday, however the results were unavailable at press time. On Friday, February 2, St. Monica will be at Cathedral.
St. Monica has had considerable basketball success in the past, and recently there have been reminders of the glory days.
Jason Matthews, who now lives in the Eastern United States, was in town and met with Depa. After starring at St. Monica, Matthews went on to play at Pittsburgh.
And Leon Wood, the former St. Monica star who played at Arizona, was on the 1984 U.S. Olympic team that played at the Forum and had an NBA career, was in town too in his current capacity as an NBA referee. He worked the Lakers’ game last Friday against the Charlotte Bobcats at Staples Center.