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Girls basketball: The great escape

Barry Faulkner

CORONA DEL MAR - Against a Corona del Mar High girls basketball

team its coach said fought like champions, Estancia sophomore point guard

Trisha Wase showed some championship mettle of her own Tuesday night.

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Wase, typically a pass-first performer, asserted herself offensively

when her team needed her most, helping the Eagles escape with a 44-43

Pacific Coast League road victory that kept them one game behind

league-leading University.

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Wase, whose 21 points were the second-best single-game scoring output

of her 46-game varsity career, scored 11 of the Eagles’ 18 after

halftime. She also made the pass that set up Tisha Gray’s game-winning

three-point play with 15 seconds left.

“She played like she really wanted to win,” Kirby said of Wase, a

5-foot-4 returning first-team all-leaguer. “She made some big

three-pointers and had some big drives to the basket. I think she saw

that this was a game where we needed her to hit some shots.”

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Wase, who hit a pair of three-pointers and had 10 points the first

10-plus minutes to help the visitors (13-10, 6-1 in league) earn a 20-11

lead, said she decided to look for more offensive opportunities after CdM

rallied to tie it at halftime, 26-26.

“When she needs to take over, she can,” Gray said of her playmaking

teammate, whose three-pointer late in the third quarter evened the score

at 32, heading into the final eight minutes.

A pair of Wase runners in the lane, combined with a layup and free

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throw by Gray, helped the Eagles stay within 40-39, before CdM senior

guard Andrea Gruber sank a three-pointer from the left wing to put the

hosts (7-15, 2-5) up, 43-39, with 2:20 left.

After both teams misfired on scoring chances, Wase then scored on a

putback of a missed three-pointer to pull the Eagles within one with 1:06

remaining.

A CdM turnover gave the Eagles possession with 35 seconds left and,

after a timeout 10 seconds later, the Eagles put the ball in Wase’s

hands. Facing double-team pressure 30 feet out, Wase simply dribbled

around both CdM defenders, drew another defender near the foul line, then

dished to a wide-open Gray on the block. Gray’s first shot attempt

missed, but she put in her own rebound, while being fouled.

CdM Coach Elbert Davis called a timeout to ice Gray, but the move

proved futile when the 5-9 forward bounced the ball off the front rim,

then the backboard, before it fell in for the deciding point.

“I was mad, so I was able to shut everything else out,” Gray said of

her game-winning concentration. She also grabbed 16 rebounds.

CdM passed the ball out of bounds on the ensuing possession, then

missed a shot from beyond half court after rebounding a missed Estancia

free throw with four seconds left.

“We didn’t play one of our better games, but give (the Sea Kings)

credit,” Kirby said. “We dodged a bullet tonight. We escaped with a win.

A loss would have been a disaster.”

CdM, which lost to Estancia, 63-25, Jan. 10, received 10 points each

from Courtney Kawata and Kelly Luu. Kelliann Klein added eight points and

Gruber seven for a team Davis said is getting better every game.

“We’re starting to come around,” Davis said. “I felt like we’d

surprise some people in the second round and we can still make the

playoffs if we win our next three (University Thursday, then Costa Mesa

and Northwood next week).”

Three of CdM’s league losses are by a combined seven points.

GIRLS

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE

Estancia 44, Corona del Mar 43

Score by Quarters

Estancia 16 10 6 12 - 44

Corona del Mar 11 15 6 11 - 43

Estancia - Gray 13, Byfield 6, Wase 21, Mino 4, Rodriguez 0, Castro 0,

Pena 0.

3-pt. goals - Wase 3.

Fouled out - Mino.

Technicals - none.

Corona del Mar - Luu 10, Ramsey 2, Klein 8, Kawata 10, Gruber 7,

Otterbein 2, Snell 2, Aletaha 2, Marks 0, Heeschen 0, Dimas 0, Stern 0.

3-pt. goals - Kawata 1, Gruber 1, Klein 1.

Fouled out - none.

Technicals - none.


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