Before Trabuco Hills High School's Pacific Coast League opener against Woodbridge Wednesday, Rainer Wulf, the Mustangs' first-year coach, naturally told his team to defend the inside. After all, Woodbridge's Adam Keefe is the dominating big man in the county.
So what do the Warriors do but open a 23-12 lead at the end of the first quarter, powered almost entirely by outside shooting?
Keefe wasn't a factor through most of the game at Woodbridge, but the Warriors still held on to win, 68-62, despite a furious fourth-quarter run by Trabuco Hills (9-6, 0-1).
In the final quarter, the Mustangs cut Woodbridge's lead from 17 to 6 points and outscored the Warriors, 26-15, in the final quarter.
Keefe, who got into foul trouble early in the third quarter and sat out most of the second half, finished with only 11 points, well below his season average of 27.4.
Without their big man to rely on, the Warriors (9-5, 1-0) made up the difference with outside shooting, paced by guard Robb Lee, who finished with a team-high 20 points. Lee hit five three-point shots, including three in the first quarter.
"When they start bombing like that, it kind of wrecks your game plan," Wulf said. "In the first quarter the guys were looking over at me, like, why are we sagging in on these guys?"
Forward Rob Lee finished with 12 points for Woodbridge.
Trabuco Hills' John Barnes led all scorers with 24 points, including 10 of 12 shots--7 of 8 in the fourth quarter--from the free-throw line.
Rick Swanwick, the Mustangs' 6-foot 10-inch junior center, finished with 15 points, including five in the fourth quarter. Tim Manning added 10 points.
"They were a little bit intimidated at first," Wulf said, "but they got that out of them in the first half. A loss never feels good, but I'm proud of the way they played."
Trabuco Hills stayed in the game at the free-throw line, making 22 of 27. Woodbridge made only 7 of 18 free throws.
Keefe led Woodbridge in rebounds with 12. Swanwick had 10 rebounds for Trabuco Hills.
Laguna Beach 66, Costa Mesa 53--The host Artists (5-9, 0-1) overcame a 35-30 halftime deficit by outscoring the Mustangs, 19-9, in the third quarter. Jeff Snyder scored 21 points to lead Laguna Beach. Greg Ertel had 21 points for Costa Mesa (3-10, 0-1).