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South Coast League : Capistrano Valley Finally Picks Up Pace, Tops Irvine

Times Staff Writer

Capistrano Valley High School found itself in the wrong tempo Wednesday night against Irvine at Saddleback College.

But the Cougars managed to overcome Irvine’s agonizingly slow style of play and an atrocious third quarter to pull off a 57-56 upset of the Vaqueros in a South Coast League game.

Some clutch free throw shooting in the game’s final minutes didn’t hurt fifth-ranked Capistrano Valley (14-4 overall, 4-0 in league play) either. Irvine, which was third-ranked, falls to 17-3 and 3-1.

“It’s maddening,” said Capistrano Valley Coach Mark Thornton of the deliberate pace Irvine sets.

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Entering Wednesday’s game, the Cougars had averaged 72.8 points a game. The Cougars’ season-low point total came in a 54-51 loss to Compton in December.

“And they don’t make a lot of mistakes either,” Thornton said.

For example, when Irvine didn’t retreat quickly enough on defense on a Capistrano Valley fast break, Irvine Coach Steve Keith immediately signaled for a timeout.

The game was only 2 minutes old and Capistrano Valley led, 4-2, but it’s the attention to detail that’s elevated Irvine into the upper echelon of Orange County basketball.

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For a time Wednesday, the Vaqueros appeared headed for yet another victory.

Irvine led by as many as 5 points--the last time at 25-20 midway through the second quarter--and appeared to have that all-important tempo going its way.

Capistrano Valley rallied to take a 34-31 lead at halftime, but was outscored, 11-6, in the third quarter and trailed, 42-40. Junior forward Scott McCorkle, who had 18 points in the first half, went scoreless and that nearly ruined the Cougars’ chances.

McCorkle and Capistrano Valley rebounded in the fourth quarter and took the lead for good on a Bill Mazurie layup, 45-43, with 5:43 left.

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Irvine stayed close, but McCorkle, who had a team-high 23 points, made 4 of 4 free throws and Mazurie was 2 of 2 from the line in the final 44 seconds to preserve the victory.

Irvine’s John Molle, a sophomore forward, had a game-high 27 points, to best McCorkle in a match-up of the league’s top underclassmen.

El Toro 61, Dana Hills 42--Three players scored in double figures for El Toro (11-8, 1-3) which got its first league victory. Khari Johnson led the Chargers with 19 points. Rob Johnson scored 18 and Greg Everett added 11 for El Toro. John Lloyd led Dana Hills (13-8, 1-3) with 16 points.

Mission Viejo 65, San Clemente 57--Eric Cramer scored 17 points to lead host Mission Viejo (7-10, 2-2). Greg Amaya and Jim Buthko each added 13 points for the Diablos.

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