Lee Takes His Best Shot at 2 Sports
Chris Lee of Newport Harbor High School saw the basketball come loose. With time running out, he picked it up and threw toward the hoop.
“I knew there was only 1 or 2 seconds left,” said Lee, The Times’ player of the week. “I was just trying to get fouled.”
He wasn’t fouled. But he did make the shot.
Lee’s 7-foot, fall-away jumper gave the Sailors a 64-63 victory over Anaheim in the championship game of the Canyon tournament. It was Newport Harbor’s first tournament championship in 5 years.
Lee scored 61 points in the 4 tournament games and was named the most valuable player.
After winning only 4 of their first 7 games, the Sailors have won 5 in a row.
Lee, a senior 6-foot 1-inch guard, attributes the team’s winning ways in part to the success of the Newport Harbor volleyball team last year.
The Sailors reached the Southern Section 4-A final before losing to Loyola. It instilled a winning feeling in Lee, who was an outside hitter on the team.
It was the first taste of the playoffs for Lee and two of his basketball teammates. Now they want more.
“After making the Southern Section finals in volleyball, I didn’t want to have another losing season in basketball,” Lee said. “Newport Harbor has always been known as a volleyball power. We wanted to win in basketball, too. We want to go to the playoffs in both sports.”
Lee had not played volleyball before entering high school, but went out for the team as a freshman because it looked like fun. As a sophomore, he played on the varsity.
“Volleyball has improved my jumping abilities and coordination,” Lee said. “I’m more under control on the court now, too.”
Lee is averaging 18 points per game this season with a high of 36.
“Chris has grown as a player this year,” Coach Jerry DeBusk said. “He’s using his leaping ability to rebound more. People see this 6-1 kid outrebounding guys much taller than him. It’s got to surprise them. Chris gets that (leaping ability) from volleyball.
“We’ve always had good success with guys who played volleyball, too. Steve Timmons, Bill Yardley, Drew Sheward. Chris is just an exceptional athlete like the others were.”
Brian Allred of Irvine scored 82 points in 4 games as the Vaqueros won the South Coast Christmas tournament title. Allred was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
Malru Dottin of Saddleback scored 69 points in 4 games as the Roadrunners won the Orange Holiday tournament championship. Dottin was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
Jim Priest of Savanna scored 43 points in 3 games as the Rebels won the Pacifica tournament. Priest was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
Keith Walker of Brea-Olinda scored 83 points in 4 games as the Wildcats won their tournament. Walker was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
Newport Harbor High
Height, Weight, Class: 6-1, 165, Senior
Last Week: Lee scored 61 points in 4 games as the Sailors won the Canyon tournament title. Lee was named the most valuable player.
Season: Lee is averaging 18 points per game.