APTOS -- Aptos High School head coach Joseph Smith said he believes his team can compete with anyone.
It would be hard to disagree with that.
Four Mariners scored in double figures and Cole Welle extended his streak of recording at least 20 points and 10 rebounds to seven games as the Aptos Mariners locked down the Seaside Spartans in a 73-46 win Thursday night at Aptos High School.
Welle led the Mariners (10-2) with 23 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. His streak of tallying at least 20 points and 10 rebounds dates back to a 31-point and 11-rebound performance against Christopher on Dec. 19.
“He’s been phenomenal,” Smith said. “He’s versatile and he has great instincts. He competes hard, and he did that today.”
But he wasn’t the only Mariner who had a nice final stat line.
Shandy Victory finished with 12 points, three rebounds, three assists and four steals, Ben Dorfman had 10 points and 10 rebounds to record his first double-double of the season and Luke Rossi dropped in 10 points and hauled in seven boards.
“The guys played well,” Smith said. “I’m proud of them. We defended. We made the extra pass. We were good today.”
The Mariners have been better than good through the last seven games: they’ve been perfect.
Aptos went into Thursday’s showdown with the speedy and athletic Spartans on a six-game winning streak. Welle and Co. made sure they kept it going.
“I expected them to get after us,” Smith said. “I though they would attack the basket, and try to pressure us. We did a good job of handling the ball today.”
The Mariners turned the ball over just 12 times compared to the 19 giveaways the Spartans had.
“That was one of goals,” Smith said. “We wanted to limit our turnovers and I think we did a pretty good job.”
Aptos went into the break with a nine point lead, and they started the second half on an 8-0 run to take a 17-point advantage before Seaside was able to find the bottom of the net on a Chris Evans 3-point shot.
The Mariners opened their lead up to as much as 27 points midway through the fourth period when Nick Sakoda hit a wide open three in transition.
Aptos held on to that lead through the final minutes of the game.
It was their ninth win of 10 or more points.
“We’re just getting better,” Smith said. “We feel like any given night, we can play against anybody.”
The Mariners will carry their streak into their Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League opener against the Santa Cruz Cardinals.
“It’s a tough opener,” Smith said. “We have a lot of respect for Santa Cruz. We’re looking forward to getting things started.”
The game is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. tip Wednesday at Santa Cruz High School.
Santa Cruz beat Aptos in all three of the team’s meeting last season. Those two loses and one to the Soquel Knights -- league champions a year ago -- dropped the Mariners to a third place finish.
Evans paced the Spartans with 12 points. Ronnie Turner added 11 points and six rebounds and two blocks. DeShawn Irving finished with nine points.
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