CORONA DEL MAR - It was too little too late for host Corona del Mar
High Thursday night, but by earning a 46-42 Pacific Coast League girls
basketball victory, Costa Mesa may have averted saying the same about its
quest for a berth into the CIF Southern Section playoffs.
"We're still fighting for third," said Mesa Coach Jim Weeks, whose
Mustangs improved to 7-12, 1-3 in the PCL. "We're still in the hunt for a
playoff spot. We would have hated to have had to give up the season."
The Sea Kings (6-12, 1-3) never gave up, paring a 38-22 deficit with
6:46 left to 45-42 on a Kelliann Klein three-pointer with 47 seconds
The Sea Kings let 17 seconds elapse before sending Mesa junior Rhondi
Naff to the line, where she hit the second of two foul shots to up the
lead to four.
Madison Otterbein netted a free throw to get CdM back within three,
but the rebound on her second, an intentional miss, caromed to Mesa's
Jasmine Grewal in the corner.
Grewal hit her first free throw to finalize the scoring and Mesa
sealed the deal when Eileen Bello blocked a 14-foot jumper and Christine
Caron gathered in the rebound as time expired.
"When you haven't won a league game yet, it can be a struggle to
finish one off," Weeks said. "We had spurts tonight, but CdM made some
big three-pointers down the stretch to stay in it."
Costa Mesa, riddled with shooting woes in its first three league
games, finally won the field-goal percentage battle against the Sea
After hitting 3 of 9 from the field in the first quarter, CdM was 1 of
10 in the second period, then 1 of 17 in the third, including misses on
its first 14 field-goal attempts after halftime.
Mesa, which scored in double figures in every period, pushed the lead
to 34-21 after three quarters. But the Mustangs had just enough. Mesa
wound up connecting on 14 of 45 from the field (31.1%) and also netted 14
of 28 free throws.
With seven fourth-quarter field goals, two more than it totaled the
first three periods, CdM wound up 12 of 51 from the field (25.5%) after
entering the final quarter at just less than 14%.
CdM wasn't much better from the foul line, connecting on 15 of 33
CdM did win the turnover battle, committing two fewer than Mesa's 16,
though the Mustangs won the rebound battle, 45-40.
Four different CdM players contributed to an 8-0 run after Mesa led by
a game-high 16 and three-pointers by Andrea Gruber and Klein helped the
hosts post a 10-1 run later in the fourth period.
But CdM Coach Elbert Davis, whose lineup was missing four starters due
to injury, was not heartened by the comeback.
"It's the same old thing and it's getting old," Davis said. "We played
hard, but that's expected. We play harder in one half than another, or we
wait until we're down by 18. We could say if we'd only done this or that,
but it doesn't matter. And we could cry and say we had so and so our
injured, but someone has to step up. We had girls in mental Disneyland
Naff, who came in averaging seven points in league, found a little
more room to operate against the Sea Kings. She finished with 15 points,
draining 6 of 9 from the field.
Bello chipped in 10 points, while several other Mustangs provided
Caron collected a game-high nine rebounds, while six Mesa players
collected at least five boards.
Emotional leader Christina Poncher had seven points, while reserves
Stacee Sanchez, Cassey Brick and Grewal combined for nine points and 15
Senior center Lauren Carich had six rebounds and three points, before
leaving the game with a left ankle injury early in the fourth quarter.
Klein led CdM with 14 points, followed by Gruber with 10. Gruber also
had four rebounds and three steals.
Colleen Marks (six points and six rebounds), as well as sophomore Kate
Heeschen (four points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists.
PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE
Costa Mesa 46, Corona del Mar 42
Score by Quarters
Costa Mesa 12 10 12 12 - 46
Corona del Mar 9 5 7 21 - 42
Costa Mesa - Naff 15, Caron 2, Carich 3, Poncher 7, Bello 10, Brick 3,
Grewal 4, Sanchez 2, Akansel 0.
3-pt. goals - Poncher 1, Brick 1.
Fouled out - none.
Technicals - none.
Corona del Mar - Klein 14, Luu 2, Otterbein 4, Gruber 10, Alateha 0,
Marks 6, Heeschen 4, Ramsey 2, Stern 0, Dimas 0, Snell 0.
3-pt. goals - Gruber 2, Klein 1.
Fouled out - Luu.
Technicals - none.