Newport Harbor High School's Jon Alstrom looked relaxed, almost at ease, when he took a shot from the top of the key with three seconds left in the Sailors' Sea View League opening game against Woodbridge Friday night.
Alstrom paused a second, then followed through and made the shot to give Newport Harbor a 59-57 win at home.
Sailors guard Jeff Young had driven to the baseline with the score tied at 57-57 and, when he was double-teamed, threw the ball to Alstrom at the top of the key. Alstrom had a second to set up because the entire Woodbridge defense had shifted to defend Young on the baseline.
Alstrom's shot came after a Warrior rally late in the fourth quarter, capped by Mike Murphy's stiff armed 10-foot jump shot from inside a Newport Harbor zone defense to tie it.
After falling behind early in the third period, the Warriors had taken an eight-point lead and looked as if they would take control of the game.
But then Newport Harbor guard Maurice Lee scored 14 of his 28 points in the last four minutes of the quarter to give Newport Harbor a three-point lead.
Woodbridge (11-3) had trailed by eight points with four minutes left. The rally came with 6-foot 7-inch sophomore center Adam Keefe, who had 20 points in the game, on the bench after he fouled out with 3:11 remaining.
"He's a great player," Newport Harbor Coach Tim Parsel. "We were happy to see him leave the game. But we were still up by, I think, 10 points when he left. They played terrific without him."
Keefe came into the game averaging almost 20 points a game. He shoots in 60-percent range because he stays exclusively at the low post. All of his field goals Friday came from eight feet or closer.
To defend Keefe, Parsel decided to play a sagging man-to-man defense. The defense collapsed three men on Keefe when ever he received the ball, and challenged the other Woodbridge players to shoot from the outside.
"There were a couple of their players we didn't want to shoot," Parsel said. "But I was most concerned with keeping the ball out of his (Keefe's) hands inside."
Keefe may have been seen as the key entering the game. But the player who decided the game was Lee, a 5-10 guard, who scored 10 by halftime. But with four minutes remaining in the third quarter, Parsel started isolating Lee against his defender. Lee would drive, fade and fall away on seven shots, making each one. After Lee had made his last shot of the quarter, a 12-foot jumper with eight seconds remaining, Newport Harbor (7-4) had taken a 44-41 lead after trailing most of the game.
"I really wasn't happy with the way I was playing in the first half," Lee said. "I didn't think I was shooting that well. But it got to that point in the third quarter when I wanted the ball every time we got the ball. I knew I was going good."
WOODBRIDGE(57)--Bryan 12, Keefe 20, Murphy 10, Sullivan 6, Townsend 7, York 2.
NEWPORT HARBOR (59)--Craig 12, Alstrom 9, Lee 28, Richards 5, Torell 3, Young 2.
University 63, Saddleback 60--The Trojans (5-6) gained a 21-8 lead in the first quarter, only to fall behind the Roadrunners (7-4) by 13 points midway through the third quarter. Forward Steve Stolzoff, who had 17 points, led the University comeback. He hit three 20-foot jump shots down the stretch, the last putting the Trojans up by two. Lasse Glassen made one of two freethrows with six seconds remaining to put University up by three.
UNIVERSITY (63)--Olin 1, Warren 11, Winslow 11, Glassen 23, Stolzoff 17.
SADDLEBACK (60)--Walton 17, Deal 15, Dottin 16, Butler 4, Ontiveros 2, Alonzo 4, Campbell 2.
Corona del Mar 64, Laguna Beach 40--Jeff Fryer scored 32 points as the Sea Kings (11-2) opened with a win at home. Laguna Beach center Coby Naess had 19 points. The Sea Kings caused numerous Laguna Beach turnovers. Corona del Mar stole had 12 steals in the game, 5 by Doug Green.
LAGUNA BEACH (40)--Naess 19, Fortune 4, Spaaph 1, Elfsten 12, Herdman 4.
CORONA del MAR (64)--Fryer 32, Turner 8, Christiansen 3, Green 8, McGrath 2, O'Neil 4, Muller-Stach 4, Hook 3.
Estancia 77, Costa Mesa 43--Estancia center Ron Brazell scored 19 points and forward Craig Covey added 12 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Eagles (1-0, 8-4) to this league opening win at home. Estancia was relatively successful in stifling Costa Mesa's high scoring Mitch Pelichowski, who had 13 points. Costa Mesa is 1-7 overall.
COSTA MESA (43)--Kos 4, Pelichowski 13, Rodriquez 3, Morris 11, Nguyen 3, Rasmussen 3, Weil 2, Ritchie 4.
ESTANCIA (77)--Mooney 6, Rusick 4, Brazell 19, Trejo 12, Covey 12, Tift 6, Pinckney 10, Baker 2, Siegel 4, Keller 2.