Big night for the Tritons
Cypress Lake managed to give the Mariner Tritons a battle for a while, but in the end it was no contest.
Mariner, the second seed in the District 4A-8 tournament, stretched out a 43-36 halftime lead into a 91-59 demolition of the Panthers (13-14).
The Tritons (20-4) will travel to Port Charlotte on Friday for the district championship.
“They played well in the first half,” first-year Tritons’ coach Ryan Hercek said. “36 (points) is a good half for anybody. So, yeah, they played hard.
“We just continued to play. You’re going to have to score with us.”
Cypress Lake worked the boards hard early, staying in the game in the first half with rebounds and second-chance shots.
That changed in the third quarter.
Mariner rained down the 3-pointers on Cypres Lake, hitting 14 in all for the night.
Preston Ebanks stroked four of his five 3-pointers in the second half on his way to a 21-point game.
Luis Ferro and Amari Martin hit three treys each, Derrick Purdy connected twice (11 points each for Purdy and Ferro) and D’sean Archilles, Zach Everly and Vinnie Didonato each had one.
“We shoot a lot of threes in practice,” Hercek said. “We come out with shooters, and then we attack the rim.”
For Archilles, the 3-pointer was a small part of his scoring night as he led everyone with 21 points.
Mariner’s second-half domination was complete, to the tune of 48-23 over the final two periods.
Cypress Lake got 15 points from Junior Sylvestre, 12 from Jessy Dorneus and 10 from Calex Cadet.
Port Charlotte 59, Ida Baker 48: The top-seeded Pirates (15-9) took advantage of a big edge at the free-throw line (27 foul shots to 6). Brayan Aguirre had 17 points for the Bulldogs (14-13), with Devyn Bradwell hitting four 3-pointers on his way 14 points on the night. Larry Rogers had 17 for Port Charlotte. The 14-13 mark was Ida Baker’s first winning season since 2008-2009.
Mariner 9, Inverness Citrus 1: Leo Perez scored a hat trick, upping his Mariner record to 65 for the season, as the Tritons (22-4-1) routed the Hurricanes (13-9-1) in the first round of regional competition. Not to be outdone, Sean Paul Negron had three goals of his own, while Esteban Orjuela cored twice and Marcel Tovar added a goal.
“They’re a good team,” Tritons’ coach Martin Cardenas said. “They came out and chased us the whole game. They made things difficult. But when we manage to play the ball quickly, we’re hard to keep up with. We got in in the first seven minutes, which allowed the boys to relax.”
Mariner’s second-round match at home Saturday will be a rematch with LaBelle, which fell 5-1 to the Tritons in the District 4A-8 final. The Region 4A-2 championship is set for next Tuesday. Should the Tritons get past LaBelle, Mariner would host the regional final.
The Villages Charter 4, Bishop Verot 3 (penalty kicks): The match was scoreless through regulation and overtime, sending the game to penalty kicks to decide matters. The Vikings ended their season 9-9-2.