Heading into Thursday's Sunset League opener against Edison High, Marina girls' basketball Coach Carol Osbrink said she felt her Vikings could pull off a victory against the Chargers. It had been awhile since a Marina team had defeated Edison on the hard court, but Osbrink held to that belief.
"I knew the kids could do this all along," she said, moments after the Vikings had defeated the visiting Chargers, 60-48. "We've had games this season where we have played really well, and then we've had games where we didn't play the way we are capable of playing. It was only a matter of which team would show up.
"Tonight, we played really, really well."
Marina fell behind early but used big runs in both the second and third quarters, to take control. The Vikings maintained a double-digit lead from midway through the third quarter until the end of the game in improving to 9-7 overall.
Osbrink wasn't sure the last time a Marina team had defeated Edison, saying she thought it had been at least five years.
"The girls came out fired up," Osbrink said. "I thought this game, for us, would come down to the kids being intense and focused. The girls did that, and they played like they knew they could win. We played with confidence, and I'd say that was the difference in this game."
Marina trailed throughout a majority of the first quarter and was down five points (14-9) before senior guard Danielle Kennedy dropped in two free throws, then hit from three-point range to tie the score, and then drained another trey, to push Marina into a 17-16 lead.
Kennedy's 8-0 scoring spree, covering the final 1:42 of the quarter, put Marina in front for good.
The Vikings went on to score the first 11 points of the second quarter to add to their lead. The spurt started with a three-point shot by senior guard Madison Yutkins, continued with a follow shot by junior forward Kydell Pearson, driving layup by Kennedy, and steal and driving layup by senior guard Melissa Lindquist, and ended when a steal by Yutkins which led to a baseline floater by Kennedy.
The outburst came in the first 3:11 of the quarter, and extended the lead to 28-16.
Marina went on to lead, 33-27, at halftime.
A free throw by Edison sophomore guard Justine Modde early in the second half pulled the Chargers to within five (33-28). Then, the Vikings went on another quick run. Kennedy scored the first three points of a 7-0 run that took the lead back to 12, 40-28. The Vikings had their biggest lead of the game, 50-34, when Pearson followed her own miss, with just under a minute left in the third quarter.
Marina still led, 57-42, when Kennedy fouled out with 3:11 remaining in the game, exiting with a game-high 22 points. It was then that Edison (8-7) climbed back to within 10 points. A three-point play by senior forward Loli Gomez brought the Chargers to within 58-48 with 1:51 to play.
Gomez came up with a steal under the Marina basket on the Vikings' ensuing possession, but at the other end of the court, Marina senior forward Natasha Mangham stole the ball back along the Edison baseline with 1:44 left. On the Chargers' next trip downcourt, Lindquist came up with a steal on an inbounds pass, was fouled by Edison senior guard Jenny Kwok on the play, and Lindquist dropped two free throws to make it 60-48 with 1:07 to go.
The Chargers used a few thee-point shots, two coming from Modde who scored eight points in the first four minutes of the game, to take an 11-7 lead midway through an opening quarter in which they had set the pace.
"They played with more intensity than we did tonight," Edison Coach Dan Wiley said of Marina. "To me, that was the difference.
"We got off to a good start but I knew we couldn't maintain that type of shooting. We had chances to cut into their lead in the second half, but we turned the ball over, rushed shots, and our free throw shooting was terrible. You have to treasure every possession when you are trying to come back."
In addition to Kennedy's game-high 22 points, Lindquist scored 11 points, Yutkins eight points, Pearson and Mangham both had seven points, and junior forward Megan Lewis had five points.
Modde led Edison with 18 points. Gomez finished with 12 points and sophomore guard Alyssa Atencio had seven points.
Osbrink knew how important it would be to get a victory over Edison in the league opener.
"It was huge, and we're so excited," she said.
In other Sunset League openers Thursday, Huntington Beach rolled to a 73-27 win over visiting Newport Harbor, and Fountain Valley fell, 47-33, at Los Alamitos.
Senior guard Paola Roa scored a game-best 18 points, freshman forward Frankie Wade-Sanchez had 16 points, and senior guard Stephanie Louie scored 14 points as Huntington, the co-No. 4-ranked team in CIF Southern Section Division 1A, improved to 14-2.
Junior guard Ari Jacobsen scored 13 points for Fountain Valley (7-10) in its loss to Los Alamtios.
The Sunset League girls' basketball race continues at 7 p.m. Tuesday . Scheduled games include Edison at Newport Harbor, Fountain Valley hosting Huntington, and Marina traveling to Los Alamitos.