Mary Star High Boys Basketball Rolls Over San Pedro

Despite the fact this was one of the rarest of games on Friday, even for one city, the Mary Star High boys basketball team had bigger aspirations in mind.

One of their goals during the 2018-2019 season was to win a tournament to build momentum for upcoming Santa Fe League competition. It didn't matter to the Stars where, and it also didn't matter who they had to defeat in order to achieve that goal.

Even if the opposition was in-city neighbor San Pedro.

A strong second quarter spurt in which Mary Star went on an 11-0 run and clamped down defensively down the stretch, they refused to cool down with an even more critical third quarter push to power their way to a 77-51 victory over the Pirates in the semifinals of the San Pedro Pirate Shootout Tournament before a lively crowd at San Pedro High. Clearly it was one of the Stars' biggest sports wins from a hometown perspective, but they're not done yet.

Next up for Mary Star (11-4 overall), the championship game of the Pirate Shootout on Saturday at 7 pm against Gardena, the defending Pirate Shootout champion who defeated the Stars along the way to the title in 2017.

It was back and forth early on as San Pedro (7-4) got inspired play from senior guard Jesse March, who scored five quick points and dished out a trio of assists, but Air Force-bound 6'4'' guard Joseph Octave proved to be too much early and often, as he nailed two long three-pointers that were matched by a pair of threes from senior forward Jose Rocha to power Mary Star to a 26-20 lead at the end of the first quarter.

More known for his awesome football exploits, San Pedro senior forward Cam Thomas would start the second quarter by nailing a corner three-pointer and hitting a tough fall-away jumper to cut the Stars' lead to 26-25, but then Mary Star would answer by scoring 11 unanswered to lead 37-25 with four minutes to play, forcing a Pirate timeout. 

The catalyst of that drive was the Mary Star junior guard tandem of Aaron Martinez with his heady play on both ends, and Adrian Alvarez who scored seven of the 11 points during that run with a crucial three-pointer, a rebound put back and a driving layup. After Thomas scored again, Mary Star would score the last five points of the quarter to lead 42-27 at halftime. By that time, Octave would nail four three-pointers in the half and had 19 points.

Mary Star continued keep the pressure on with a strong third quarter and build up a 63-39 lead when it ended, and would hold off San Pedro the rest of the way.

Octave would pace Mary Star with a season-high of 36 points to go along with 11 rebounds and a pair of steals. Alvarez chipped in nicely with 13 points, while Rocha and Martinez scored 10 points apiece for the Stars. The Pirates were paced by 9 points each from Thomas and sophomore guard Mekhi Bentley, who nailed a pair of triples. Senior forward Anson Panton scored 8 to go with a game-high 12 rebounds.

San Pedro will face South Torrance in the third place game at 5:30 pm on Saturday.

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