Basketball postseason run-down

Jacob Sandman, Contributor

The past month of basketball for the Jesuit High School Marauders has been one of highs and lows.

Moving into the season, the Marauders set high expectations for what they could achieve, but due to some painfully close losses and a multitude of injuries, it seemed as if the team would come up short of attaining those expectations.

After two narrow losses, one at home to Monterey Trail High School on Jan. 20 and the other a 56-50 defeat at Grant High School Pacers on Jan. 25, the Marauders stood at 10-10. They were on the outside looking in with regards to the playoff chase.

Undeterred, the Marauders responded two nights later with a resounding 83-68 victory over the Pleasant Grove High School Eagles. Led by 39 combined points from Isaiah Rutherford ‘19 and Chris Simpson ‘18, the Marauders flashed the potent three point shooting offense that the team is capable of with a combined 13 threes on the night.

Following the victory against Pleasant Grove, the Marauders hosted the Davis High School Blue Devils on Jan. 30 and sought to maintain the winning streak. Buoyed by another solid game from Isaiah (20 points and three steals) the team was able to hold onto a 39-25 halftime score that led to an important 71-63 victory.

Sitting at 12-10 overall and 5-4 in league, the Marauders then traveled to two Elk Grove Schools to kick off February. The first game, against Elk Grove High School, was a game that was strongly contested. However, the overtime game finished at  61-53 in favor of Elk Grove. Following the tough loss at Elk Grove, the Marauders trekked back out to the Elk Grove area two nights later on Feb. 3, for a matchup against one of the section’s top teams, the Sheldon High School Huskies.

After a tight first half, Sheldon pulled away in the second half for a 63-44 victory, lead by Senior leader Elijah Duplechan’s 26 points.

With three games left, the Marauders’ up and down season left them sitting at 12-12 overall and 5-6 in league, putting them on the edge of the playoff bubble. In order to reach the playoffs, the team needed to win both of their next two games. Despite the tall task, the team was not defeated and remained steadfast in their belief that their goals could be attained. Team Manager Jacob Nelson ‘18 spoke on this conviction.

“The team always knew they had the talent and chemistry in order to make the playoffs and just remained confident in that and kept playing hard,” Jacob said.

With this belief in hand, the Marauders welcomed the Franklin High School Wildcats on Feb. 8 for a game with massive playoff implications. With only the top four teams in the Delta League making the playoffs, the Marauders and Wildcats both were planted firmly on the playoff fringe sitting in the middle of the league standings.

The Marauders responded in a marvelous fashion, blitzing the Wildcats early and often, on their way to a 35-13 halftime lead and eventual 67-44 victory.

Two nights after the significant victory, the Marauders traveled to Monterey Trail in need of another win in order to clinch a playoff berth. Once again, the team came up big, trouncing the Mustangs on their way to a 76-52 victory, led by Matthew Ehrlich ‘17 who had 26 points.

With a playoff berth in hand, the Marauders hosted the Pacers on the 15th, seeking a win to round out the season. Landing on senior night, the game ended in a 56-53 Marauder victory over the second place Pacers.

With the regular season over, the Marauders had a record of 15-12 prior to last week’s opening playoff tilt against the sixth seeded Folsom High School Bulldogs. The 11th seeded Marauders traveled to Folsom, seeking to avenge an early season defeat in the Wild West Shootout and to progress to the second round of the playoffs.

Unfortunately, the Marauders were unable to accomplish this goal, dropping the contest 58-38. A cold shooting night from the Marauders and stingy Folsom defense prevented the team from getting anything going on offense. The loss eliminated the Marauders from the playoffs, thus ending their season with a record of 15-13. The outlook for next year is bright as the team has numerous returning players that will look to improve on their accomplishments this season.