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CdM drops CIF playoff opener for first time since 2009 with loss at Cathedral

CdM drops CIF playoff opener for first time since 2009 with loss at Cathedral
Coach Ryan Schachter, shown here on Jan. 18, 2018, was unable to lead Corona del Mar High past Los Angeles Cathedral in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs on Wednesday. (Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

For the first time since the 2008-09 season, the Corona del Mar High boys' basketball team did not advance past the first round of the CIF Southern Section playoffs.

Los Angeles Cathedral defeated the visiting Sea Kings 68-61 in a Division 2AA opener on Wednesday.

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Senior Kevin Kobrine poured in 17 points in the final game of his CdM career, while sophomore John Humphreys contributed a team-high 18. Junior Jake Hamilton drained four threes and finished with a total of 14 points on the night.

Senior guard Ben Coffman, who like Kobrine, played his final game, scored four points while orchestrating open looks for his teammates.

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"I'm proud of them," CdM coach Ryan Schachter said. "It was a grind year. All year we kept just kept grinding every day at practice. They showed up and worked hard, tried to get better. That's all you can ask of them. Kevin and Ben have been here for three years on varsity. They're great kids and they've come a long way. Tyler Flood and Jack Bendetti, our other seniors, are also great kids. I respect everything these guys did for the program the past few years."

Unfortunately for CdM (17-11), these efforts were not enough in a game where they allowed the talented Phantoms (17-8) to score 18 second-chance points. Of these 18 second-chance points, eight came courtesy of big man Orlando Robinson Jr. during a 10-1 run at the end of the first half that gave Cathedral the lead for good.

Robinson finished with a game-high 23 points, all in the first half. Robinson and the Phantoms advanced to the second round to play at San Bernardino Cajon on Friday.

"He's a senior," Cathedral coach William Middlebrooks said. "I explained to him before the game and again at halftime, your career is over. We lose, you're done, and that's it. I told him we needed to ride his back, and he did a great job."

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CdM worked itself out of a sluggish start, rattling off a 15-4 run over the final five minutes of the first quarter to take a 20-15 lead. A back-and-forth contest unfolded throughout the remainder of the game, with Cathedral's lone double-digit lead lasting merely seconds before the Sea Kings chipped right back at the deficit.

The pivotal 10-1 run to close the first half set the tone for the final two quarters, though. No matter how many runs CdM appeared to spark down the stretch, closing the gap down to a single possession twice in the final three minutes, the Phantoms always had an answer.

The final nail in CdM's season came as four consecutive three-point attempts bounced off the rim down the stretch, while Cathedral received a boost from one of three thunderous slams by junior guard Sedrick Hammond.

As the Phantoms look to keep their playoff run rolling, the focus turns to the future for the Sea Kings, who are set to join the Sunset League next season. With an abundance of returning talent, the outlook is bright.

"We return 10 guys, so hopefully the guys work hard in the offseason and are committed to getting better," said Schachter, whose team finished second in its last season in the Pacific Coast League. "In the offseason, it's all about individual growth and development. If they put in the time, we can be a good team next year. I'm excited for what the future holds."

Kobrine, one of the leaders of this year's CdM squad, echoes his coach's sentiment.

"I think they will do well," said Kobrine, who is headed to UCLA to play men's volleyball after he graduates from CdM. "They're moving into a new league. They're good players and they are going to work hard."

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CIF Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs

First round

Cathedral 68, Corona del Mar 61

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Corona del Mar 20 – 11 – 16 – 14 — 61

Cathedral 15 – 22 – 13 – 18 — 68

CdM – Humphreys 18, Kobrine 17, Hamilton 14, Garza 5, Coffman 4, Stone 3.

3-pt. goals – Hamilton 4, Humphreys 3, Kobrine 1, Garza 1, Stone 1.

Fouled out – None.

Technicals – None.

C – Robinson 23, C. Mitchell 15, Hammond 12, B. Mitchell 8, Mixon 6, Isik 4.

3-pt. goals – B. Mitchell 2, C. Mitchell 2.

Fouled out – None.

Technicals – None.

JOSH CRISWELL is a contributor to Times Community News. Follow him on Twitter: @joshccriswell

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