NEWPORT BEACH — The last time Estancia and Newport Harbor played each other in a high school boys' basketball game, their current head coaches were assistants. One team also only suited up eight players.
That team was Estancia, and with a depleted roster last season, it had enough to come back and beat the Sailors for the second straight season.
The Eagles brought nine players to Newport Harbor on Saturday. The extra body didn't help them rally against the Sailors again.
A day after suffering a heartbreaking loss at the buzzer in a Sunset League opener at home, the Sailors bounced back. They returned to the same gym and blew out the Eagles, 67-45, in a nonleague game.
Newport Harbor took care of business, despite sitting two of its regular starters (Kevin Rakestraw and Nic Sargeant) for the first part of the first quarter. Coach Bob Torribio said the reason why Rakestraw and Sargeant didn't start was due to them missing the Sailors' morning session because of a prior commitment.
"Obviously [Friday] night was a tough one for us," said Torribio, referring to the 67-65 setback against Edison. "But we knew our guys, if they're anything, they're competitive. They're young guys, but we expect these guys to compete.
"If we didn't play hard tonight, we knew were going to have a tough battle."
The Sailors (9-8) never trailed in the contest.
Once Torribio brought in Rakestraw, a 7-footer, the Sailors surged ahead. In the final minute of the opening quarter, the senior center dunked and scored in the paint, giving Newport Harbor a 20-8 lead.
At halftime, the Sailors led, 39-21. Most of their offensive production came after offensive rebounds against an undersized Estancia team.
Rakestraw's size created problems for the Eagles and he finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds, five on the offensive end, and four blocks. He turned things around after recording a season-low four points the previous night.
The Eagles never shied away from attacking the basket, even when Rakestraw patrolled the paint. Ben Beck drove hard a handful of times, usually drawing contact to send him to the free-throw line, where he scored seven of his team-high 17 points.
The shots at the charity stripe didn't always fall for Estancia, which converted only 11 of 21 free throws. The Eagles also struggled from everywhere else, missing all 11 of their three-pointers and making just 16 of 56 shots.
Carlos Beltran, the Eagles' interim coach, had a lengthy talk with his players afterward. The Eagles (4-12) have dropped five of six games, not a good time to be reeling.
Next for Estancia is an Orange Coast League opener at home against Costa Mesa (4-11) on Wednesday. The Eagles finished with the league's No. 2 playoff berth last season, but they had a legitimate scoring threat back then in Rashad Davis, a 6-7 senior.
They can't just dump the ball down low and expect production these days. The Sailors can afford to do so with Rakestraw, and if teams collapse on their big man, they have players like Robbie Rettig and Sargeant that can hit outside shots.
Rettig led the Sailors against the Eagles, scoring 12 of his game-high 20 points in the second quarter. Caleb O'Neil came off the bench and contributed 10 points.
The Sailors will need balance scoring come Wednesday, when they return to Sunset League action against Fountain Valley.
"Everybody is calling them the league favorites right now," Torribio said of the Barons, who are 13-4 overall. "They're 1-0 [in league]. We're 0-1 [in league]. Despite a tough loss [Friday] night, with a good effort next Wednesday, we can be right back in the hunt."
Newport Harbor 67, Estancia 45
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Estancia 8 – 13 – 11 – 13 — 45
Newport 20 – 19 – 9 – 19 — 67
E – Beck 17, Mendoza 10, Ponce 4, Stillman 4, Jarmacz 4, Fackler 2, Harry 2, Jelks 2.
NH – Rettig 20, Rakestraw 15, O'Neil 10, Sargeant 5, Wade 5, Okey 4, Bockrath 3, Robbs 2, G. Davis 2, C. Davis 1.
3-pt. goals – Sargeant 1, Bockrath 1, Rettig 1, O'Neil 1.
Fouled out – Okey.