Mariner’s Jailin Johnson (2) shoots the ball during a state playoff game against Chiawana at Arlington High School on Saturday. Mariner won 85-74. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Mariner’s Jailin Johnson (2) shoots the ball during a state playoff game against Chiawana at Arlington High School on Saturday. Mariner won 85-74. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Gritty Mariner boys down Chiawana, clinch spot at Tacoma Dome

The undersized Marauders use their speed to beat the Riverhawks 85-74 and book their 2nd straight trip to the 4A Hardwood Classic.

ARLINGTON — It’s easy to notice the one thing the Mariner High School boys basketball team lacks.

With just one player in its regular rotation listed above 6-foot, Mariner almost exclusively finds itself battling much taller and longer opponents on a nightly basis.

Despite the lack of size, the Marauders keep winning basketball games. The key trait leading them to victory is one that’s immeasurable: the heart the team plays with each time it steps on the court.

Facing a taller and longer Chiawana squad with its season on the line Saturday, Mariner proved once again that it’s not about the size of the dog in the fight, it’s about the size of the fight in the dog.

The Marauders used their speed and quickness around the perimeter to fluster the Riverhawks and force turnovers, seniors Jailin Johnson and Makai Bloomfield combined for 52 points and 12th-seeded Mariner held on for an 85-74 victory over 13th-seeded Chiawana in the regional round of the Class 4A state tournament at Arlington High School.

As a result, the Marauders are heading back to the Tacoma Dome for a second consecutive season.

“We’re a small team with a lot of heart,” Mariner coach Tevin Dillon said. “I couldn’t be more proud of these guys.”

Mariner (16-8) advances to face fifth-seeded Gonzaga Prep in a loser-out, round-of-12 matchup at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday.

“We grinded through this and we’re excited,” Johnson said. “We’re ready to get back there.”

The teams battled in a back-and-forth first half that featured eight lead changes, but the Marauders started to create some separation late in the second quarter with an 8-2 run entering the break. Johnson’s 3-pointer late in the period extended the Mariner lead to 42-35.

The Marauders rode the momentum swing into the third and pushed their lead to double digits at 45-35 on senior Michael Sully’s triple. Bloomfield came up big in the period as well with 13 of his 23 points, including three 3-pointers. Mariner ended the quarter on a 14-3 run and pushed its lead to 67-51 just before the quarter ended after Sully stole an inbounds pass and dished off to Johnson for a layup.

The Riverhawks (15-9) wouldn’t go away in the fourth quarter after falling behind by as many as 18 in the fourth. Chiawana chipped away at its deficit with a 13-2 run to pull within 73-66 midway through the period. Riverhawks senior Mason Castillo trimmed Mariner’s lead 77-72 in the closing minutes, but the Marauders responded with poise and connected on all eight of their free-throw attempts after to ice the game.

Johnson poured in 17 of his game-high 29 points in the first half, Bloomfield had 23 and senior Macky James added 15 for Mariner.

Castillo led Chiawana with 27 points, Donavin Young and Kade Smith added 14, and DJ Duran chipped in 13.

“Feels good to get back to the Dome,” Bloomfield said. “We’ve still got work to do.”

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Sports

Edmonds-Woodway comes together for a mound visit during early trouble against Mountlake Terrace in the Class 3A District 1 baseball championship Saturday, May 11, 2024, at Funko Field in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
E-W faces tall task in 3A state baseball semifinals

The Warriors will likely have to solve Mount Vernon star Xavier Neyens to advance to the title game.

Shorewood’s Rylie Gettmann is one of the favorites in Class 3A girls singles at the state tennis tournaments, which happen at various locations this weekend. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2024 state boys and girls tennis preview

Jackson’s Ben Lee and Shorewood’s Rylie Gettmann are among the top local contenders.

Jackson pitcher Yanina Sherwood is hoping to lead the Timberwolves to their second straight Class 4A softball state championship. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
2024 state softball preview

Here’s a capsule look at the nine local teams that qualified in Class 4A, 3A and 1B.

Glacier Peak’s Mateo Ganje crosses the finish line in the Boys 4x100 during the Eason Invitational at Snohomish High School on Saturday, April 20, 2024 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
2024 state track and field preview

Here’s the list of local state qualifiers with top-10 marks in their classification.

Everett High School’s Shukurani Ndayiragije is a contender to win all three jumping events at the Class 3A state boys track and field meet. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Power rankings: Who has the best shot at prep state titles?

Ranking the local athletes and teams who have the best chance during this weekend’s state events.

NWAC notebook: EvCC’s Gilbert excels at track championships

Plus how locals fared in tennis and softball. Baseball begins Thursday.

Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for May 13-19

The Athlete of the Week nominees for May 13-19. Voting closes at… Continue reading

Mountlake Terrace players react to a run during a baseball game between Mountlake Terrace and Bishop Blanchet at Edmonds-Woodway High School in Edmonds, Washington on Saturday, May 18, 2024. Mountlake Terrace won, 12-7.(Annie Barker / The Herald)
Mountlake Terrace baseball’s season ends in state quarters

The Hawks beat Bishop Blanchet 12-7 in the morning, but fall 10-9 to West Seattle in the afternoon.

Prep roundup for Saturday, May 18

Prep roundup for Saturday, May 18: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Jackson players react to beating Kamiak to win the 4A district championship on Friday, May 17, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Jackson softball rallies past Kamiak for district title

Yanina Sherwood dominates in the circle, striking out 10 in the 4-3 come-from-behind victory.

Wolfpack carrying on, despite AFL turmoil

The rebooted league contracts, changes commissioner in the wake of unpaid obligations.

Prep roundup for Friday, May 17

Prep roundup for Friday, May 17: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.