It's difficult to recognize Marina High School's Mark Georgeson these days. The once gangly 6-foot 10-inch center has filled out to 218 pounds. The close-cropped haircut has been replaced with a styled hairdo.
Then, there's the radical change on the basketball court. Gone are the days when Georgeson was merely on the floor for window dressing. He has become a complete player and showed his skills Wednesday night in the Vikings' 84-57 victory over El Dorado.
Georgeson scored 22 points by making 11 of 19 shots as Marina advanced in the opening round of the Fountain Valley Tournament. He had four dunks and made eight straight shots at one point.
Georgeson, who will attend the University of Arizona in the fall, has developed a good shooting range and has the ability to run the court with any guard. He was once termed "a project" by Marina Coach Steve Popovich, but it appears that Georgeson will be paying big dividends in his senior season.
"That's why we're in this business, to develop players like Mark in our programs so hopefully they'll become good players," Popovich said. "Mark has only scratched the surface. He just turned 17 years old, and he never played the game until the ninth grade."
The Vikings (2-0) figure to be a prime contender for the Southern Section's 5-A division title that has been the private domain of Mater Dei for the past two seasons. Georgeson figures to play an instrumental role in Marina's success, but he has a strong supporting cast.
Guard Mike Meyers, nephew of former UCLA All-American David Meyers, added 17 points. Meyers scored nine points in the third quarter, including two layups that came off steals that pushed Marina ahead, 51-32. Meyers also had a three-point shot.
El Dorado (2-2) was playing without its best player, Eric Glade, who injured his ankle in practice Tuesday. But the Golden Hawks gave Marina a battle in the first half and trailed at halftime, 40-28.
"We got into a running game with them, and we're basically a methodical team," Popovich said. "I told the team at halftime to slow down and do what we do best. I think we gained control in third quarter."
The Vikings made 11 of 17 shots in the third quarter and outscored El Dorado, 23-9. Popovich began clearing his bench early in the fourth quarter, something he'll probably do often this season.
In other first-round games:
Servite 63, Compton 54--The Friars jumped to a 20-4 lead in the first quarter and Compton could never catch up, although the Tarbabes managed to get within five points late in the fourth quarter.
Forward Nick Marusich led Servite (2-2) with 18 points and seven rebounds. He missed only one shot attempt. Teammate Tony Smalley added 16 points and center John Arabia had nine rebounds. The Friars meet Marina at 7:30 tonight in the second round.