Los Angeles Times

Flamson energizes Sea Kings

On Friday nights, after the Corona del Mar High boys' basketball team plays, the coaching staff gathers at a local sports bar. The coaches have been meeting there for four seasons.

Mike Flamson, one of the assistants, owns the place, and it so happens to be "The Place" is the name of the establishment. The Place is where Coach Ryan Schachter said he and his assistants talk about the team in the after hours.

"That's all we do," Schachter said with a laugh. "[We] talk a lot of smack on all the players."

Last week, the coaches went more than once after a game, on a Tuesday, on a Friday, their usual night, and on a Saturday. The one player they discussed a lot is the owner's kid, Blake Flamson.

The young Flamson plays for CdM, and the coaches praised his play after all three games. There might have been a toast or two for Flamson, as the senior guard contributed to the Sea Kings going 3-0.

The week began with the toughest opponent, Woodbridge, the first of two straight Pacific Coast League road contests. The week concluded with the Battle of the Bay rivalry game at Newport Harbor.

Flamson performed every time, scoring in double figures, the only CdM player to do so last week. He averaged 15 points per game and he turned in his biggest effort against Woodbridge, the preseason league favorite.

Twenty-two points are how many Flamson finished with, by far his best output as a Sea King. The way the night started for Flamson, it seemed unlikely CdM could count on him to produce offensively.

Flamson didn't look to score in the opening quarter, only making a layup on a breakaway. After CdM trailed by six after the first quarter, Connor Sage, a teammate, went to Mike Flamson on the bench.

"Did you tell Blake not to shoot?" Sage said to Mike.

"No," Mike said.

"Well, he hasn't taken [more than] a shot," Sage said.

"Yeah, I know that," Mike said.

Mike then pulled his son aside and ate into him, telling him to be more aggressive. The message is one Schachter has often yelled at Blake.

Now, Blake's father delivered it.

"I think Woodbridge was the first game he ever really told [Blake] anything like that," Schachter said of Mike, who played basketball at CdM and graduated from the school in 1978. "I can't repeat what he said. Those words can't be printed in the newspaper."

Whatever Mike said to his son worked.

Flamson came out in the second quarter all fired up. He attacked and recorded nine points in the quarter, and CdM took a 32-31 lead into halftime.

In the fourth quarter, CdM received much of the same production from Flamson. He put up seven points in the quarter and CdM managed to hold on for a 64-63 win.

Three days later, the Sea Kings survived another league contest. They edged University, 67-62, to stay undefeated in league. Flamson finished with 10 points, one of four CdM players in double figures. The balanced attack shows these Sea Kings are different from the previous seven teams Schachter has guided at the school.

What hasn't changed is CdM's winning ways against Newport Harbor. Flamson finished with 13 points and the Sea Kings blew out the Sailors, 76-50, making it six consecutive wins against Newport Harbor.

"We don't have like the Stefan Kaluz, Joe Eberhard, Danny Cheek, or Marcus [Bradley], that big-time, [go-to player]," said Schachter, who in 20 games this season has seen nine players, Flamson, Robby Bracho, Bo St. Geme, Sam Kobrine, Kevin Fults, Austin Ridge, Ryan Stone, Ryan Moss and Kevin Manchester, lead the team in scoring. "We have five guys [on the court] that share the ball and play together, and that's the thing with Blake in terms of sharing the ball. He's perfectly OK with sharing the ball, rather than making a play."

The unselfish play on the court is making a difference, as CdM shares first place in league with Northwood and Woodbridge. Schachter still believes the Sea Kings (15-5, 4-1 in league), ranked No. 4 in the CIF Southern Section Division 3AA poll, are a better team when Flamson gets more involved on the offensive end.

At the start of the season, Flamson's role changed from last season, when he came off the bench. He earned a starting spot, but Schachter inserted him at point guard. Flamson said he felt uncomfortable, yet with CdM bringing back Jeff Johnston slowly from serious back and ankle injuries and St. Geme joining the team in the 10th game of the season because he helped the CdM football team win a CIF State Division III Bowl Game title, the Sea Kings needed Flamson to run the offense and also score.

"I didn't like it that much," said Flamson, who is 6-foot. "[There was] a lot more pressure … just trying to set other people up, instead of doing more myself."

In the New Year, Schachter asked Flamson to focus on scoring. Johnston began to start at point guard and St. Geme had four games under his belt, allowing Flamson to move to the wing in CdM's first game this month.

Since the switch, Flamson is averaging 11.7 points per game and CdM has won six of seven games. The one setback came at home this week against Northwood, the defending league champion, and of all days, it came on a Friday.

Win or lose on a Friday night, Flamson said members of CdM's coaching staff, which includes his older brother, Nick, usually shut down his dad's sports bar.

"He comes home a little late," Flamson said of his father. "I'm asleep by the time he comes home."

Blake Flamson

Born: Oct. 23, 1995

Hometown: Newport Beach

Height: 6-foot

Weight: 165 pounds

Sport: Basketball

Year: Senior

Coach: Ryan Schachter

Favorite food: Burrito

Favorite movie: "Anchorman"

Favorite athletic moment: Winning the San Diego Invitational with the Newport Lightning boys' basketball club team last summer.

Week in review: Flamson averaged 15 points per game last week, helping the Sea Kings go 3-0 on the road, beating Woodbridge and University in Pacific Coast League play and Newport Harbor in the Battle of the Bay rivalry.

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