For the first time in 18 years, the Mustangs are the boys basketball champions of the Marin County Athletic League.
Junior guard John Seavey scored 16 of his game-high 25 points in the second half and senior center Stuart Wesonga had 18 points with 14 rebounds as the Mustangs rolled past Drake, 65-50, Saturday night in the MCAL title game at Redwood High.
San Marin coach Craig Pitti said his players were gunning not only for a historic victory but for respect.
“We felt all along that we weren’t getting the respect we deserve, especially our defense,” he said. “Drake kind of put one on us in the fourth quarter, but our defense for first 3 ½ quarters was stifling. … Tonight, the best team in the league unveiled why they are the best team in the league. We were thoroughly dominant tonight. I’m so proud of these guys.”
San Marin led 21-13 at halftime, but Drake cut the Mustang lead to four points early in the third quarter. Following a timeout, San Marin made crisper passes, focused on ball control and created some turnovers that stretched the lead back to 40-24 by the start of the fourth quarter.
“It was hard not to look up at the scoreboard and just think, ‘I’ll remember this for the rest of my life,’” said senior forward Chris Glennon, who had nine points for the Mustangs. “All the hard work, everything we’ve been through, it all was worth it.”
The San Marin students in the crowd poured onto the court when the buzzer sounded, and the players jumped up and down with their classmates. The party really got going when they were handed the championship banner.
“It’s the greatest feeling in the world,” said senior point guard Ryan Zirkle. “At the beginning of the year our goal was to win MCAL. … Before the game, (Pitti) told us about all the people who didn’t believe we could do it, and that was a big motivation. We did it.”
Glennon had seven during the decisive stretch in the third quarter. Seavey had eight points in the third and eight in the fourth, including two 3-pointers in the final minutes to stretch the margin.
“It was just kind of out of the blue,” Seavey said of his performance. “I don’t even know. I just felt confident tonight. I kept shooting and they kept falling, and I just felt it tonight.”
Joey Euphrat led Drake with 16 points and Austin Buck added 10.
Seavey said Pitti got the players to focus during that key third-quarter timeout, right when the momentum had been going Drake’s way.
“He said just do what we’ve been doing all year — lock up on defense, execute on offense, take care of the ball, bump the lead up to 10, 20 and keep executing,” Seavey said.
Drake coach Doug Donnellan was pleased his team responded to his halftime talk and closed the gap.
“We dug ourselves a hole by maybe going for too much too quick,” said Drake coach Doug Donnellan. “In the third, we hit our first couple (of buckets) but then our shot selection wasn’t very good and San Marin just took advantage.”
San Marin is expected to be among the top seeds for the North Coast Section Division III tournament, which starts Tuesday. The seedings and pairings will be announced Sunday morning.