St. Monica is going to the CIF boys’ basketball playoffs for the first time in four years.
After losing all three games the previous week, St. Monica won all three last week to achieve a 14-10 record – two more wins than is required to qualify for the playoffs.
“It was a great week for the Mariners,” said Coach Tony Depa, a Louisiana native who is coaching the team for the third season.
Depa said the biggest difference from one week to another was the return of sharp-shooting junior Jonathon Azur from a knee injury that didn’t require surgery.
“Without his scoring we struggled, but when you combine his shooting with Bryce Hamaguchi and Ryan Zelig, the opposing defenses have more problems,” said Depa.
St. Monica defeated Calvary Chapel 47-43, Mary Star 64-44 and Cantwell 76-63.
Azur scored nine points, then 12 and then 18. Hamaguchi had 22 against Mary Star and Zelig scored 17 against Cantwell.
St. Monica scored 29 points in the fourth quarter against Cantwell, making 13 of 14 free throws.
St. Monica has two games remaining in the regular season and will learn its playoff position when the CIF meets Sunday, February 11.
The basketball success is a major boost to the school’s athletic program. It follows a football season when the Mariners failed to win a game.