Late comeback by boys’ varsity basketball falls short in thrilling game vs. Marin Catholic

Patrick Jacobson

The latest chapter of the rivalry between Redwood and Marin Catholic (MC) was written on May 4, when their respective boys’ varsity basketball teams faced off for their first and only time during this year’s MCAL season. In the end, Marin Catholic came out on top, winning 53-48, despite a strong start from Redwood and high team morale following a resounding victory over Novato in their previous game. Although the team appeared to put in a strong performance both offensively and defensively, there were several areas that sunk the team’s chances at winning, particularly in the second and third quarters, when MC had the most momentum.

Missed free throws were a recurring issue for Redwood as the team shot 9-for-19 from the line.

While Redwood’s team had a far better first quarter than MC, starting out with an early seven-point lead, the opposition was able to rally, turning their deficit into a 29-21 lead by halftime. Redwood power forward Ainsworth Fish scored a team-high 14 points on Tuesday and shed some light on what went wrong in the crucial second quarter. 

“We had a great first quarter and then they went on a big run and we kind of collapsed,” Fish said. “We stopped hustling and making plays, and let them get offensive boards. That’s what really killed us this game [and] definitely plagued us last season as well. This season we’re bouncing back, but this game kind of brought the problem back from last year.”

The game, however, remained close after halftime. Redwood players were able to keep MC’s lead under ten points, and rally towards the end, briefly closing the gap down to four points. Ben Donick, a senior and point guard, praised the team’s ability to keep the score close, but also pointed out other shortcomings during the game. 

“I thought we came out really strong,” Donick said. “[MC] obviously had a big run in the second quarter. I think we didn’t handle it very well … But we brought ourselves back into it, just a little too late, so that’s definitely something we can improve on.” 

Redwood struggled at times to keep possession of the ball, and that was discussed multiple times during timeout huddles, such as the one shown here.

Donick also mentioned that keeping hold of the ball was a serious issue. 

“Turnovers were definitely another problem, and I take full responsibility for being part of the countless turnovers we had. I also think we became a little too passive on the offensive end, but it was mainly just turnovers, which starts with me.” 

Another factor in play during the game was fouls, as Redwood had several more of them than Marin Catholic throughout the game. A part of that, according to coach Jay Demaestri, was due to the team’s mindset, although he emphasized that fouls were not the reason for the loss . 

“We like to be aggressive, but we got a little handsy in there. Were there a couple of bad [referee] calls? Of course, but that’s life. Things happen, and it’s all about how you rebound from that,” Demaestri said. “I think a couple of times in the game, we all, myself included, got a little bit too wrapped up in what the call was … So [after the game] I told them to digest it, lick their wounds, show back up to practice tomorrow and get ready to get after it.”

While the varsity team won’t get a rematch with Marin Catholic due to a pandemic-shortened MCAL schedule, another stiff challenge is coming up against San Marin High School, giving the team only three days to prepare. Donick plans to treat it like a regular game. 

“We prepare for San Marin the same way we prepare for any other team,” Donick said. “We watch films, we drill and practice what they do, we study their players. After that, we just have to execute.”

The Redwood vs. San Marin game will take place Friday at 7:30 PM at San Marin High School.