By Zack Farmer
On paper, the St. Ignatius boys basketball team appeared to have a disadvantage in height against Jesuit in the Sand Dune Classic championship game on Saturday.
As it turned out, St. Ignatius’ small lineup became its advantage.
The Wildcats used their quickness and guard play to take down the Marauders 77-58 and claim the tournament title.
“When you just looked at it, it looked like a bad mismatch, but I think it ended up being a tougher mismatch for them just with our speed,” said St. Ignatius head coach Tim Reardon. “Our goal the whole year has been [to] be the tougher team every time we go out and play.”
The win is the Wildcats’ (9-1) seventh straight and their final non-league game before they begin West Catholic Athletic League play.
“I think we’re ready to compete [in WCAL play],” Reardon said. “I think the good part is we can still get a lot better.”
Leading 35-29 at the half, the Wildcats came out of the locker room on fire in the third quarter and immediately got consecutive layups from Daniel MacLean-Vernic and Julian Marcu.
“They did some really nice interior passing on that zone and were patient,” Reardon said. “We got a couple of bunnies there from one post throwing to another post. I think that kind of broke their spirit.”
After a three-pointer from MacLean-Vernic, St. Ignatius junior point guard Trevor Dunbar took over.
Dunbar, who was later named the tournament’s MVP, came off a screen and three Jesuit defenders followed, leaving Marcu all alone for the uncontested layup.
Dunbar then did the scoring himself.
The guard converted two straight fastbreak layups to cap the run, giving St. Ignatius a commanding 48-31 lead.
“That’s what he does to teams,” Reardon said. “If he gets hot then everyone is worried about him . . . When he’s scoring, he becomes an even better distributer.”
Dunbar seemed to get better deeper into the tournament and he finished the night with a game-high 23 points, after scoring 14 and 19 in the first two games.
The small St. Ignatius lineup caused matchup problems for Jesuit and it showed in the first half, as the Marauders (7-6) committed 10 turnovers before the break.
“They were a lot more physical than us,” said Jesuit head coach Greg Harcos. “We thought we could use our height to an advantage and it definitely wasn’t an advantage tonight.”
Trevor Dunbar – 23
Julian Marcu – 9
Tristan Wentworth – 9
Three players tied with 7 points
Luke Lutes – 20
Isaiah Bailey – 8
Nick Hilton – 7
Brady Anderson – 5
Andrew Hoy – 5
Here’s a highlight video of Trevor Dunbar’s performance in the tournament by our friends at Yay Area’s Finest.