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Mustangs' Amazing Basketball Season Comes to a Close

Bishop O'Dowd gets revenge on San Marin, wins NorCal Division III semifinal 52-49 and ends Mustangs' season with 30-5 record.

After a historic 30-win season, the good luck dried up Saturday night for the San Marin High boys basketball team.

Bishop O’Dowd, a powerhouse team from Oakland that was picked as one of the top 50 teams in the country at the start of the season, sought and got revenge on San Marin with a 52-49 victory in a CIF NorCal Division III semifinal played at Redwood High in Larkspur.

San Marin, which had stunned Bishop O’Dowd in the North Coast Section semifinals on March 2, ended the season with a 30-5 record, a Marin County Athletic League championship and an NCS championship.

Senior center Stuart Wesonga finished his San Marin career with 10 points and 16 rebounds and several dozen bruises from double- and triple-team defenses against him. Wesonga will, by all accounts, go down as one of the greatest players in Marin County history.

The Mustangs last led Saturday’s game at 17-16 with 5 minutes, 4 seconds left in the second quarter, but they rallied late in the game and nearly pulled off another stunning victory.

When junior guard John Seavey stole the ball, wrestled with a defender to hold onto it and then launched a 3-pointer, San Marin closed to within 47-45 with 2:07 left in the game and sent the crowd into a frenzy.

Chris Glennon, who ended up with a team-high 13 points for San Marin, sank a jumper to keep it to 49-47 with 1:30 left. After that, the Mustangs fouled the Dragons on five rapid-fire plays since they had fouls to give and a deficit to make up.

Wesonga nailed a put-back bucket with 8.8 seconds remaining to keep it to a two-point game at 51-49. Seavey quickly fouled O’Dowd’s Kendall Jackson, sending the Dragon guard to the line. Jackson hit made the first shot to account for the game’s final margin.

He missed the second shot and Jimmy Burrows grabbed the rebound for San Marin as the clock ticked down. He found Seavey, who had about 1 second to dribble and heave the ball as the clock expired. It fell a few feet short, and the O'Dowd celebration got under way.

Seavey, the only junior among San Marin's starters, finished with nine points. Senior point guard Ryan Zirkle sank two 3-pointers late in the game to keep the Mustangs in the running and senior forward Burrows had eight rebounds.

O'Dowd, the No. 1 Division III team in the state for much of the season, improved to 25-7 and will play March 19 for the NorCal title against El Cerrito, which shocked No. 1 seed Sacramento 63-51 on Saturday. San Marin beat El Cerrito for the NCS Division III title on week ago.

In the first half, O’Dowd had the early momentum and jumped to a 16-8 lead before San Marin took a timeout. The Mustangs promptly responded with a 9-0 scoring run highlighted by Dominic Coyne's 3-pointer, but it was followed by 10-0 run by the Dragons.

Wesonga and O’Dowd star Brendan Ashley only had two points and four points at the half, respectively, a sign that the other players were getting it done. Ashley finished with 14 points for O'Dowd, and Anders Haas led all scorers with 15 points.

Byron March 13, 2011 at 08:03 AM
Interestingly, an MCAL title was a great accomplishment but also a sort-of-assumed limitation. In other words, a game or two in the NCS was icing on the cake and maybe all that was expected. But these players saw no end… instead of becoming more complacent; players became more confident, leaping heart first, into uncharted experiences. From all the way out here in Washington DC I felt this teams will and fell in love with this teams character. So did everyone... Young kids, students from everywhere, and adults. We all went along for the journey with this team. What a ride! During San Marin’s historic NCS run I like many people knew Bishop O’Dowd was a good but found out how much better San Marin’s dream was. In the title game the dreams of the team became the dream of the community. The NCS title game was legendary! But on today the sun now set on this season. For the seniors… what a way to begin a new chapter of life after high school. You know now that nothing is impossible and no goal is to lofty. What an example you’ve shown. I could go on forever about what this has meant for me watching Stuart and this team but I’ll stop here and say thank you Mustangs for inspiring me personally. Sincerely and respectfully, Stuart Wesonga’s older brother Thank Brent ive been following you for all my info! your work is excellent!
mike ghiringhelli March 13, 2011 at 08:04 AM
Be proud Mustangs! That was a great season. You have every reason to be proud and for bringing the Novato community together with your valiant efforts and phenomonal season!!
Pauline Hanson March 13, 2011 at 04:19 PM
I became a fan late in the season and have nothing but admiration and respect for the those boys in green and gold! Despite being out-sized in many games, they delivered with sheer guts and a whole lot of heart. They have certainly put SMHS on the basketball map! Thank you Mustangs!
Janice Blair March 13, 2011 at 06:26 PM
To Craig and our team...Thanks guys for giving us a season we will never forget...for bringing us together as a school and as a community.You are one class act...OOOH! AAAH! I'M PROUD TO BE A MUSTANG!
Lisa Walera March 13, 2011 at 06:41 PM
As the "gate keeper" at San Marin I have been fortunate to have been at every home game for the past 3 years. I would like to thank all of the San Marin basketball teams but especially these boys for making my job so incredible. To say that these boys play with heart is an understatement. I have watched them go up against the biggest and the strongest and leave them all standing in there tracks. I can only imagine what went through opposing teams' collective minds when they saw our team introduced before games. We certainly didn't fit the profile of a heavy weight basketball match-up. Yet, our boys did it over and over again and proved that determination, spirit, heart and love not only of the game but of each other can lift you too unimaginable heights. Stuart, you have a basketball career ahead of you and while the Matadors will support you with additional height, you'll have to show them how to play with sheer bulldog determination like Jimmy and Alex; stealy eyed bravado the way only John can deliver; stalwart leadership with icewater in the veins that Ryan apparently has; and sneak-up-on-ya-and-deliver-when-they-least-expect-it like Chris and Dom. But most of all their coaches will need the heart of a dad that you found in Craig. Thank you for working so hard this season, boys and for giving the community and your school so much to believe in! Byron (Stuarts brother), you and your family are a class act! I'm still teared up!
Roopinder Tara March 13, 2011 at 06:57 PM
What a game and what a season! The team never gave up, played with all its heart, fought for every point --and almost made it. If there had been another 5 minutes... who knows? It was a privilege to witness such an inspired, emotional and courageous effort. The Mustangs are the pride of San Marin HS and the pride of Novato. Thank you, Mustangs!
Jill Wylie March 13, 2011 at 06:57 PM
Great season Mustangs! You never gave up and your success has been great to follow. Thanks for bringing the community together. Congrats!
Lynn Rode March 13, 2011 at 11:27 PM
To: Stuart Wesonga's older brother: I am Chris Glennon's aunt and got to meet Stuart yesterday, as well as your mom and sister! Stuart is a great young man and will go far. All of our family was there last night, aunts, uncles and cousins - we all cheered our hearts out for the boys and they did such a great job. It was very nervewracking. Your family is blessed and we wish you all well! Lynn Rode, Sacramento, California!
Brent Ainsworth (Editor) March 14, 2011 at 01:46 AM
Photographer Bryan Farley added some fantastic photos on Saturday's San Marin High boys basketball game: http://bryanfarley.photoshelter.com/gallery-slideshow/G00007ZkRZwt12_o/?start=
Pauline Hanson March 14, 2011 at 02:27 AM
I think those pictures said it all... Amazing action shots! The awe in the eyes of those kids meeting Stuart is just priceless. The Team handled defeat with dignity and great sportsmanship. A class act on and off the court.
Marcelyn Smith March 14, 2011 at 05:44 AM
¡Estupendo! ¡Magnífico! ¡Fabuloso! ¡Maravilloso! ¡Mil gracias! What an incredible gift you've given to our community. Watching you guys fills my "corazón" with joy and pride and hope for the whole wide world. You guys are Número Uno in my book!
Jackie Thoma March 14, 2011 at 08:25 AM
My son David and his buddy AJ went to the big game with Uncle Mike..the boys had a big CYO playoff game the next day and wanted to see if they could pick up a few things by watching the pro's in action ..They proudly wore there green gold and white football jerseys and were so excited to be there..Our pride in our athletes,our colors,our school and our community have reached an all time high...The NBA has nothing on you....if you could only bottle what you brought to those games = ) the torch will be passed to the boys who waited patiently on the bench for there shot!
Cinda Weisgerber March 14, 2011 at 05:59 PM
Great season Mustangs. As I did some morning exercises, one of the tunes I heard made me think of how you came together as a team and how the student body came together to support you - be proud of your accomplishment and your school. The tune is an old Beach Boys hit "Be True to Your School."
Christine Koenig March 15, 2011 at 04:12 AM
There is so much to say about the AMAZING Mustangs basketball team & coaches whose season was a HUGE success in many ways beyond the actual wins (30-5). A friend who is a seasoned b-ball coach in Massachusetts (whose team also went to their state tournament) posted this quote to his team: It is worthy of all of you. “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

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