Basketball midseason run-down

[Editor’s note: As Marauder varsity basketball heads into the final few weeks of the season, The Plank recounts the season from the end of December up until Wednesday’s game against Franklin High School.]

Following two late December losses in San Francisco, the Jesuit High School Marauders’ record stood at 4-5. Needing a win, they took on Kinkaid High School, to finish off the tournament and non-league play. The Marauders responded with a resounding 82-65 victory, led by 46 combined points from Matt Ehrlich ‘17 and Jake Virga ‘18. The win sent the Marauders into league play with a .500 record and vital momentum.

Looking for a strong start to league play, the Marauders headed to Pleasant Grove High School for a Wednesday night matchup against the PG Eagles. Buoyed by a strong second quarter and big time contributions from multiple players, the team took care of business with a close 56-53 win.

Two nights later they would travel to Davis High School looking for their third consecutive victory. They would find it with a dominant 80-50 win over the Blue Devils, led by another strong game from Jake Virga, who finished with an efficient 14 points on five of seven shooting complemented by three assists and three rebounds.

The very next night, the team would take on El Cerrito High School in a non-league matchup, as part of the Father Kelly Tribute. The team continued their winning ways with another big win, this time emerging with a 85-51 victory, with a big time performance from Isaiah Rutherford ‘19 who had 16 points, six rebounds and two assists. Rutherford’s strong night was helped by his ability to get to the free throw line as he had eight free throw attempts on the night, exemplifying his aggressiveness as a player.

After a couple nights off, the Marauders hosted Elk Grove High School on Wednesday Jan. 11, looking for their fifth win in a row. After a tight first half, the Marauders were able to pull away in the second off to prevail 62-52, improving them to 9-5 on the season.

Coming off five straight wins and undefeated in league play, the Jesuit High School Marauders were riding high into last Friday night’s matchup against the section’s number 1 team, the Sheldon HIgh School Huskies. Behind strong play from two of the area’s best guards, Drew Cobb and Elisha Duplechan, the Huskies were 12-1 with their lone loss coming against the number one team in the nation, Chino Hills High School, in a tightly contested 91-82 battle. The Marauders, undaunted, kept the game close in the first half, only trailing by three after two quarters. However, in the end the Huskies firepower proved too much as the Marauder’s five game streak was snapped by a 71-62 Sheldon victory.

The following night, the Marauders, seeking a rebound performance, traveled to the home of their big-time rivals, the Christian Brothers High School Falcons. Christian Brothers, driven by one of the section’s top juniors, Elias King (23.3 PPG, 11 RPG), stood at 9-5. After winning 3 of their last 4 games, the Falcons were looking to snag a statement win versus in a big time matchup. The Marauders would have none of it, holding a consistent lead on their way to a 70-59 victory. Isaiah Rutherford ‘19 came up big once again, pacing the team with 25 points.

“The victory was a huge momentum boost and any win against CB is obviously huge,” Jacob Nelson ‘18, team manager, said. “The team played together; they played tough and they played with heart. [It was] a good example of the way we need to play to be successful the rest of the season.”

Two days later, as part of the Martin Luther King Classic at St. Mary’s College, the Marauders took on the Moreau Catholic High School Mariners in a non-league matchup. Paced by 36 points by Pac-12 offeree Damari Milstead, The Mariners pushed past the Marauders 79-67.

The Marauders (10-7 overall, 3-1 league) have won 6 of their last 8, They returned to league play with two games this week.

Wednesday at Franklin High School, the Marauders were unable to avoid a second consecutive loss Wednesday night, as the Franklin Wildcats clawed past the Marauders at home 68-42.

Despite the current two game losing streak, the Marauders have played good basketball as of late and seem to be poised for a strong stretch run.

The Marauders (10-8 overall, 3-2 league) will return to the court Friday at home versus Monterey Trail High School at 7pm.