The game and the season got away from the Mariner Tritons in the third quarter Thursday night.
The Tritons (17-11) saw their boys' basketball playoff season come to an end in the Region 5A-3 quarterfinal round as Golden Gate rallied in the second half for a 68-64 victory.
Mariner led 44-37 with 4:31 left in the third period when Golden Gate (17-10) decided on a change in tactics. The Titans went to a three-quarter-court press that spurred a quick turnaround. Before the quarter ended, Golden Gate went on a 16-5 run to lead 53-49.
Mariner sophomore Rodney Hunter puts up a shot after driving to the net during the Tritons' 68-64 loss in the regional quarterfinal game against Golden Gate Thursday night. More photos are available online
"That run in the third quarter, when we were up and then we look up and we're down four We just got away from the things that made us successful," Tritons coach James Harris said.
"It was a good adjustment by them" going to the pressure defense", Harris said. "I was hoping when they went to it that it would extend the lead for us, but it didn't. It actually gave them the lead. It was something we worked on, but working on it in practice and to do it in a game situation are two different things."
A big swing in that Golden Gate run came in the final six seconds of the period. Keovis Brice scored, then Jorquel Condomina stole the ball and put up a shot that went in as the buzzer sounded.
Golden Gate led by as many as nine points, 60-51, but the Tritons made a fight of it. Down 63-58 with just over a minute to play, Mariner scratched to within 63-61 on Callin Nash's three-pointer before Golden Gate put the game away at the free-throw line.
"It became an uphill battle when we got down nine, but the thing on this team all year is they never quit," Harris said. "They had plenty of opportunities to quit and they didn't. They certainly made it interesting at the end."
Sophomore Rodney Hunter led the Tritons with a game-high 27 points. Senior Rick Moore scored 18, including four three-pointers.
Harris now has to say goodbye to his seniors, including starters Moore, Nash and Jaylen Mitchell.
"A guy like Rick Moore who was a three-year starter for us, he probably hit close to 200 three-pointers over his career," Harris said. "To lose a guy like that, it's tough. But you know we've been losing kids left and right to graduation the last few years. It's time for someone else to step up. The deal in high school is you only get them for four years. They grow up fast."
Garrett Moore scored 23 points to lead Golden Gate. Brice scored 19 and Condomina came off the bench to add 12.
Golden Gate faces Lely Tuesday in the region semifinals.
Mariner hit 12-of-12 at the free-throw line Thursday. Hunter was 10-of-10 himself. Overall, Golden Gate had the edge at the foul line hitting 16-of-20 free throws.
Golden Gate 14 16 23 18 - 68
Mariner 11 25 13 15 - 64
Golden Gate 68 - Brice 19, Bazile 8, Jean 2, Maze 23, Thomas 4, Condomina 12. Totals 23 16-20 68.
3PG: Maze 4.
Mariner 64 - Mitchell 2, Moore 18, Nash 6, Hunter 27, Deems 8, Inkster 3. Totals: 22 12-12 64.
3PG: Moore 3, Nash 2, Hunter 1, Inkster 1.