After an absence of more than a decade, the St. Monica boys’ basketball tournament was brought back last week and the host Mariners finished second, losing the championship game to Cathedral, 48-29, on Saturday, December 1.
St. Monica easily won its first three games of the season. In pool play, St. Monica routed Wildwood, 57-30, Waverly, 81-16, and Whitney, 52-36.
Cathedral survived the other half of the bracket against stronger opponents and emerged with a 4-0 record. Bellarmine-Jefferson took third place.
Two St. Monica players, David Holguin and Jonathon Azur, were named to the all-tournament team. Holguin averaged eight points and eight rebounds and Azur made 12 three-point shots.
“The tournament was a success,” said St. Monica Coach Tony Depa. “A lot of people involved said it was an enjoyable experience. I think we can do better next year too. Now that we’ve done it, more coaches will see we have a quality tournament and will want to have their teams participate.”
In the distant past the tournament was a fixture on the Westside sports scene. In those years the Mariners had future NBA player Leon Wood and several others who became Division 1 college players.
Depa decided to bring it back. The tournament will bring attention to a school that has won just one football game in the last three years.
Although disappointed with the final game loss Depa is optimistic about the team, also recognizing that his squad made the CIF playoffs last season.
“I think we’re going to be fine,” he said. “We’re playing better defense than last season.”