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January 31, 2023

‘Catz sink Mariners to remain unbeaten in league play | Boys basketball

Watsonville will play at cross-town rival St. Francis on Monday

WATSONVILLE—Watsonville High junior Brodie Legions had been preparing for their meeting against Marina High, which beat the Wildcatz boys’ basketball earlier this season in a tournament that they hosted.

The standout forward wanted to win not just as redemption but because they knew it would help make things smoother down the road in league play. 

Legions finished with 23 points including 11 in the first quarter for the ‘Catz, who dominated in all phases of the game in a 57-39 rout over the Mariners in Pacific Coast Athletic League Cypress Division play on Jan. 20.

“We just wanted it more today,” he said.

Watsonville improved to 4-0 in league play and handed the Mariners their first loss, dropping them to 4-1.

The ‘Catz dominated on the boards and one the biggest keys to victory was players making the extra pass, even if it meant passing up a good shot for a great one. 

Watsonville coach Marcus Northcutt said what it means is they’re not being selfish. At the beginning of the season the players would make one shot and follow up with a stinker to break their confidence level. 

“These guys will make one and then huck up some nonsense, and miss it,” he said. “You just ruined your chance to get in the zone. Make sure the next one’s a really good one.”

‘Catz senior guard Tajin Olivas said they were fully confident heading into last week’s game against Marina, especially with three straight wins under their belts. 

The Mariners were missing their big center, Kareem Allen, and Olivas knew they had to take advantage of it, which Watsonville did by winning the rebound category.

“But it’s just all the work in practice we put in, it definitely led up to this level of play,” Olivas said. “We had to step it up.” 

Olivas admitted that the preseason portion of their schedule wasn’t the best and they started off pretty slow, going 3-7 overall. However, they’ve managed to pick it up and he believes playing together as a team will be a huge factor moving forward. 

“I feel like in the first meeting [against Marina] we played individually,” he said. “I think we all grew and played really unselfishly in this second meeting, hopefully we do it again in the third meeting.”

The ‘Catz really started to click in their Cypress Division game against Gonzales, but then they got hit with game postponements due to flood warnings from the rainstorms. 

During the delay, Olivas worked on his shot everyday either at the park or joined his teammates at the YMCA. They couldn’t practice officially, yet they reunited as a group and he thinks that’s what helped them in last week’s win over Marina.

“I think we’re just going to take it and keep going,” he said. “We’re not stopping here, this is the fourth game of a 14-game league schedule.”

Northcutt said he places Marina as one of the best teams in the league and now that St. Francis has Sam Braun, things will get interesting as the season progresses.

“For us to sneak one right here at home… we needed to build some confidence and right now we started that,” Northcutt said. 

Legions called it one of the biggest wins leading up to the rest of the season because a loss probably would have shot their confidence level down.

Now they have a tough meeting on Monday at cross-town rival St. Francis (9-5, 4-0), which is one of the make-up games Watsonville had to reschedule.   

The ‘Catz (7-7, 4-0) can be in the driver’s seat if they can find a way to sneak that game away, as well. 

“If we did what we did today, it’ll be a piece of cake,” Legions said.

The Wildcatz and Sharks will square off today at 7pm. 

Juan Reyes
A Watsonville native who has a passion for local sports and loves his community. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College, San Jose State University and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumnus, he primarily covers high school athletics, Cabrillo College athletics, various youth sports in the Pajaro Valley and the Santa Cruz Warriors. Juan is also a video game enthusiast, part-time chef (at home), explorer and a sports junkie. Coaches and athletic directors are encouraged to report scores HERE.

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