High school sports

Irish rally to turn back Mariners

GERALD AYERS of Pacifica (44) maneuvers against Kennedy’s Lucas Marcroft in JFK’s 47-42 win Friday night at the Mariner gym (Orange County Tribune photos by Jim Tortolano).

By Jim Tortolano

It’s a measure of how competitive the Empire League is that a team with 12 wins going into the league opener was bested Friday night by a team with just five.

Tough league? “It always is,” Pacifica boys’ basketball coach David Friedman said after the Mariners fell 47-42 to the Kennedy Fighting Irish at the PHS gymnasium.

The game was tight throughout, with the home team leading 36-34 at the end of the third quarter. Then Kennedy’s Ryan Soto sunk a three-pointer to give the Irish a lead at 37-36 they would never give up. That was the start of an 11-point run that would build up a to 45-36 lead with 28 seconds left to play.

SHAUN FABISIAK (5) battles Ryan Soto for the ball in Friday’s game between Pacifica and Kennedy.

But the M’s were not giving up. Noah Salas hit a trey with eight seconds to play to cut the lead to 45-39 then tightened it to 45-42 with another bomb with just one-tenth of a second on the clock.

However, the last-second miracle was not to be, as Kyle Hong sunk two free throws to end the game and give the Irish a 6-10 record overall and dropping the Mariners to 12-4 overall.

Christian Mai led the blue-black-and-white with 11 points, followed by Noah Salas with eight. For JFK, Soto had 15 points and Hong added nine. Lucas Marcroft finished with eight.

Of course, one game does not a season make. Pacifica will be in action again on Tuesday, hosting Cypress, then hit the road to Irvine to visit Crean Lutheran. Kennedy will host Valencia on Tuesday and then Tustin next Friday.

It’s going to be a struggle throughout the schedule with three of the six teams (Tustin with 16 wins, Pacifica with 12 and Crean with 11) in double figures with victories.

As Friedman said, “it always is.”

FRIDAY NIGHT BASKET BALL RESULTS (scores posted as they are received)

BOYS

Empire League

  • Kennedy 47, Pacifica 42
  • Tustin 60, Valencia 25

Garden Grove League

  • Santiago 43, Loara 37
  • La Quinta 75, Rancho Alamitos 54

Golden West League

  • Segerstrom 46, Godinez 44

Orange Coast League

  • Calvary Chapel/Santa Ana 57, Orange 31

Non-league

  • Laguna Beach 41, Huntington Beach 40

GIRLS

Empire League

  • Crean Lutheran 55, Cypress 51

Garden Grove League

  • Santiago 62, Loara 16

Golden West League

  • Segerstrom 44, Godinez 29.

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