Mariners take another step toward provincials

The Fundy High School Mariners secured a spot at sectionals with a 1-1 performance at last weekend’s regional tournament. (Submitted)

ST. GEORGE — The Fundy High School Mariners will be competing at boys’ basketball sectionals this weekend, and if successful, could be moving on to provincials.

At the Southwest Regional Tournament last weekend at Carleton North High School in Bristol, the Mariners finished with a win and a loss, good enough for a berth in this weekend’s Northeast Sectional Tournament at Miramichi Valley High School.

In their first game last Saturday morning, Fundy beat École Sainte- Anne from Fredericton 86-66, led by Josh Kinney with 21 points, Frits Cantero with 20, and Jack Leavitt with 19.

“ESA was ranked above us, going in and had beaten us earlier in the year,” Coach Geordie Doak said. “We executed our game plan going in and it worked. We were up a lot at the start of the game, ESA fought back and then it was close game, and we took it away again. I was proud of the boys for their grit to be able to fight back a second time like that and battle through the injuries that we sustained in a rough playoff game like that. Anytime you’re playing in the playoffs, and you get multiple injuries to starters, it’s always tough to battle through.”

While holding ESA to eight three-pointers, the coach attributed the win to a combination of “discipline and chaos.”

“It’s a really fast-paced game to play École Sainte-Anne so it’s a lot of pressing and a lot of shooting,” he said. “You have to be really disciplined and also thrive in chaos in those moments.”

The coach is hoping that injuries to Charlie Craig and Cantero will heal by this weekend.

“I’m sure my boys would say that they are very well conditioned,” he said. “With the injuries that we had, there was a group of guys that played pretty much straight minutes throughout and just ran up and down the court, non-stop.”

With the win, the Mariners secured a “non-elimination” pathway through playoffs, Doak noted.

“It’s called a seeding tournament so you get your number and then continue on in the playoffs with that ranking,” he said.

In their second game last Saturday afternoon, Fundy lost 81-47 to Carleton North as Kinney recorded 12 points, and despite being injured at the start of the game, Cantero finished with 14.

“They got us by quite a lot in the end because of the injuries,” he said. “We had foul trouble and injuries, so we ndidn’t get to play our starting lineup, really at all. It was two games in one day and when you play the first one so fast paced and then turn around and play another one, it’s a lot of minutes.”

As a result of their win, the team earned second seed at this weekend’s tournament in Miramichi.

“If we work hard and take care of business then we have a good chance to move forward but it’s playoffs so everybody wants it really bad,” Doak added. “We’re going into Miramichi’s home gym, and they want it really bad. Just some history, last year we did the same thing, we went to Miramichi for the same game. Last year they beat us out by a close margin so we’re going back on the same road again.”

In the playoffs, which is a single-elimination tournament, Doaks said defence and taking care of the ball are vital.

“It’s always defence and turnovers,” he stated. “You can’t let them go on runs. The modern game has so many three-pointers that you really have to get out on shooters and defend them really well.”

If they win at sections this weekend, the Mariners will travel to Saint John for provincials the following weekend.

Jake Boudrot

A graduate of St. Francis Xavier University and a resident of Arichat, Jake Boudrot is an award-winning journalist with decades of experience as a freelancer, reporter and editor representing media outlets across the Maritimes.