The varsity basketball team hosted a highly-talented Texas Alliance of Christian Athletes (TACA) Thursday evening. The Marksmen played well throughout, and both teams came out firing for a combined eight first-quarter 3-point makes. The Lions trailed by double digits heading in the halftime, but used a strong third-quarter push to set up a dramatic finale. Despite sophomore Lucas Blumenthal’s 9-point fourth quarter, TACA converted a handful of clutch free-throws and earned a 74-62 victory. Seniors Corvin Oprea (19 points and 6 rebounds), Tate Laczkowski (13 points and 6 rebounds), and Caleb Vanzant (9 points and 7 assists) led the Lions. This week, SPC play begins with a home game Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. against Ft. Worth Country Day. The Lions also host non-district opponent, Thomas Jefferson, Thursday at 7:00 p.m. and then travel to Fort Worth Friday for a 7:30 p.m. game at Trinity Valley.
For the varsity soccer team, the return to class marked the last week of preparation for SPC North Zone counters with three home matches beginning with the Covenant School. Senior Lars Ochs opened the scoring in the fifth minute with assists from sophomores Zachary Bashour and Reed Sussman. The Covenant School pressed relentlessly throughout the first half and St. Mark’s found it difficult to readily create opportunities leading to a halftime score of 1-0. The Lions demonstrated patience and poise throughout the second half as Covenant began to tire. In the 57th minute, senior Will Shoup deftly converted an opportunity created from wonderful tandem play between sophomore Alex Soliz and senior Zack Stone. Shortly thereafter, Soliz turned goal scorer when he emphatically headed sophomore John Ma’s driven corner kick beyond the Covenant goalkeeper. Senior Noah Soliz took advantage of a defensive miscue to score an opportunistic goal just before the 70th minute mark. Sophomore Ayden Sumer added a fifth goal at full time to secure a five-goal shutout for the Lions. Ma and sophomore Alex Abel, along with junior Murphy Paul, were excellent in defense, helping senior goalkeeper Stefan Moreno preserve the shutout.
The Lions next hosted John Paul II on a very cold night with temperatures hovering around freezing and a brisk wind from the north. Stone demonstrated tenacity in physically dominating his defender in their penalty area. He turned a 50-50 ball into his possession. When the ball fell to his feet, it was in the back of the net just as the opposing keeper came off his line. The lead was short lived as within ten minutes John Paul II had equalized. Another goal early in the second half gave John Paull II the lead. The Lions were not as sharp as they had been before the break as they struggled to connect passes under pressure and lost for only the second time this season.
The following evening, the Lions hosted a very talented and athletic Prestonwood Christian Academy team. While St. Mark’s exerted a valiant effort, their quality of play and decision-making in the final third demonstrated mental and physical fatigue. By halftime, the Lions would concede three goals. Ochs did convert a penalty kick midway through the first half, and when Noah Soliz’s hard tackle translated into a goal just minutes into the second half, there was great hope that the momentum would favor St. Mark’s. While the Lions created several excellent opportunities to score, the equalizer never came and St. Mark’s succumbed to Prestonwood, 2-3. With 13 matches played (9W-1D-3L), the Lions now turn their attention to the most important part of the season, SPC North Zone counter play. The Lions host the Falcons of Ft. Worth Country Day on Tuesday who are brimming with confidence after defeating ESD 2 to 1 and then travel to Trinity Valley on Friday.
The varsity wrestling team competed at the Rumble at the Ridge Tournament at Fossil Ridge HS in Fort Worth this past Saturday. The Lions finished 5th out of 13 teams and was the only private school to compete in this tournament. Wrestling only seven out of fourteen weight classes due to a regional choir competition and a Congressional interview, six out of the seven wrestlers placed, with Hayward Metcalf and Jedi Kim winning the tournament. Sal Abbasi was our lone silver medalist, Teddy Fleiss won bronze, and Qunia Perkison and Wyatt Loehr took 4th place. On Friday, January 14, St. Mark’s celebrates the seniors by wrestling St. John’s from Houston and Plano East in Spencer Gymnasium starting at 3:00 p.m.
The varsity swim team has been training hard in anticipation of this week’s two meets. Tuesday the Lions take on Bishop Lynch at home, and then travel to Southlake Carroll on Thursday.
ALUMNI ATHLETE NEWS
Harrison Ingram ’21, a member of the Stanford Basketball team, scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Cardinal in their victory over the previously undefeated and #5 ranked USC Trojans on Tuesday night. Harrison has also garnered four PAC-12 Freshman of the Week honors so far this season.