Senior-led team loses to Inglewood High in state’s southern regional final
Six seniors ended their basketball careers on the floor of Pauley Pavilion with a 74-57 loss to the high energy Inglewood Sentinels in the Southern California Division III final of the CIF state tournament on Saturday, March 14.
The loss followed the team’s first CIF Southern Section defeat in seven years, which came 62-57 to the Woodbridge Warriors in the sectional final on March 6. The rebuilding now begins for a program that has won six CIF-SS titles and a state title in the last seven years. Only four players, all sophomores, will return next year.
At the SoCal title game at Pauley, one win from the state championship in Sacramento, the Mustangs stayed close to the Sentinels in the first half and were only down 28-21 at half time. But the Sentinels dominated the third quarter to lead by as many as 19 points, and the Mustangs fought hard but never got closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
“We can and should have beat the team, but they showed up to play and we stayed in the locker room,” said head coach Trenton Jackson.
Inglewood dominated the offensive glass, grabbing 24 offensive rebounds, compared to five for Marlborough. The Sentinels also played aggressive defense, causing 22 turnovers by the Mustangs.
Talia ’09 led the team with 24 points, but was the only Mustang to score in double figures.
“They started with more intensity and their press was hard to break,” Talia said. “We could’ve done more. I wish we could play the game over again.”
Inglewood was led by guard Makeda, who had 15 points and 10 rebounds. The Sentinels lost the state title game 71-62 to St. Mary’s of Stockton on March 21.
Marlborough dominated the first two games of the state tournament, beating Roosevelt in the SoCal quarterfinal 60-42 and Foothill 63-49 in the semifinal. In both games, Coach Jackson frequently rotated fresh players, wearing down opponents by the fourth quarter. Against Inglewood, the rotation wasn’t as deep because sophomore Miwa was ill and couldn’t play.
Sentinels Coach Anthony Scott also used players from his bench frequently.
“We knew they weren’t as deep as us, so we just pressed the whole first half,” Scott said.
Scott said he knew he was going up against a tough opponent in Marlborough.
“I have mad respect for the coach,” he said. “I’ve seen them play over the years, and they’re a great team,” he added.