Maranatha Gets Second Crack at Cantwell-Sacred Heart; This Time, Minutemen Prevail, 52-50, On To CIF Division 1-AA Title Game

Published : Saturday, February 25, 2017 | 5:41 AM

Could there be anything more sweet for the Maranatha boys basketball program than making the CIF-SS Division 1-AA championship game by defeating higher ranked teams along the way?

Yes, there is.

Maranatha was able to avenge an early-season loss at the hands of Cantwell-Sacred Heart on Friday night.

The Minutemen won their third consecutive squeaker, as they defeated the Cardinals, 52-50, and earned a spot in the Division 1-AA championship game next weekend.

After three consecutive playoff wins by a combined 6 points, the only thing standing between Maranatha and a CIF championship is Rancho Verde (25-3), which defeated Etiwanda, 61-56.

Sean Espinosa led Maranatha (18-9) with 11 points and 4 assists.

Chris Austin added 10 points, had 5 steals and 4 assists.

“As a team, we did a good job of rebounding and keeping our composure, even though things weren’t going our way throughout the game,” senior point guard Sean Espinosa said. “I felt like my role was to control the tempo, and be the leader out there on the court.”

Jesse Elrod and Josh Kim had 7 points apiece, but there was more to their contributions than just points.

Elrod made 3 of 4 free-throws late and Kim had two huge steals in overtime as well as 4 rebounds.

“I felt calm, cool and collected on the free-throw line (late in the game),” Elrod said. “They have all just been team wins in all honesty. We have trust in each other and I think that’s what is so key about us. We never give up at the end of the game. We always grind it out until the buzzer sounds.”

Avery Martinez led Cantwell (15-15) with 20 points, Dawit Wilson had 14, and Andre Fields scored 12 points.

“We started off well,” Maranatha coach Tim Tucker said. We had them scouted pretty well. We started out with a press and it led to five turnovers or so. They had been aggressive with us in the past, so we wanted to set the tone early.”

Maranatha Scoring: Sean Espinosa 11, Chris Austin 10, Josh Kim 7, Jesse Elrod 7, Tevan Khudatyan 6, Terrance Lang 4, Marcus Reedy 4, Skyye DeCatur 3

Box Score:
Cantwell: 8-12-14-16-(50)
Maranatha: 11-15-12-14-(52)