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CdM girls’ basketball mounts comeback to beat rival Newport Harbor

The Corona del Mar girls' basketball team celebrates after beating Newport Harbor during the Battle of the Bay game.
The Corona del Mar girls’ basketball team celebrates after beating Newport Harbor during the Battle of the Bay game on Thursday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Momentum is a fickle thing in sports.

That fact is something the Corona del Mar High School girls’ basketball team knows all too well, but lately, the Sea Kings continue to find ways to keep momentum on their side.

Corona del Mar rallied from a nine-point deficit in the second half to defeat host Newport Harbor 49-41 on Thursday night in the Battle of the Bay.

Makena Tomlinson had 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead CdM, which was also buoyed by a terrific shooting night from Dorothy Schwenck, who made five three-pointers en route to a 17-point performance.

Corona del Mar's Alexa Rokos goes up for a layup under pressure from Newport Harbor's Emma Fults.
Corona del Mar’s Alexa Rokos goes up for a layup under pressure from Newport Harbor’s Emma Fults during the Battle of the Bay girls’ basketball game on Thursday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

“It’s huge,” Tomlinson said of Schwenck’s scoring output. “She’s shooting so well, and then of course, she’s trying to be more aggressive, and that’s perfect. That’s exactly what we need. It draws defenders in and opens up other people. She’s doing amazing.”

After previously losing five games in a row, the Sea Kings (11-8) have a season-best six game winning streak. That stretch includes a double overtime win over Los Alamitos on Tuesday.

“We finally got out to some shots, we created a little havoc, and then we rebounded,” CdM coach Brason Alexander said. “To be honest, the last two games, I don’t know how we won. The kids have just shown character. [Newport Harbor is] a darn good team.”

Contributions from the bench were big for CdM. Alexa Rokos had five points, nine rebounds and seven steals, and Megan Martodam played a physical brand of defense.

Corona del Mar's Haley Esquino drives to the hoop under pressure from Newport Harbor's Kate Bland.
Corona del Mar’s Haley Esquino drives to the hoop under pressure from Newport Harbor’s Kate Bland during the Battle of the Bay girls’ basketball game on Thursday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Haley Esquino had six points, and Sarah Audiss added four points for the Sea Kings.

Corona del Mar scored 10 unanswered points over the final 89 seconds of the third quarter to take a 36-35 lead into the final period. Rokos had two steals in that span, including one that she finished off with a three-point play to cap the comeback.

“It was stressful, but my teammates talked me through all of it,” Rokos said. “I’m a freshman, so it was my first Battle of the Bay game.”

A free-throw line jumper by Kate Bland put Newport Harbor up 35-26 with 3:35 on the clock in the third quarter, but from there, the well went dry for the Sailors, who did not scratch again from the field.

Newport Harbor's Chase Dionio drives the lane against Corona del Mar's Alexa Rokos.
Newport Harbor’s Chase Dionio drives the lane against Corona del Mar’s Alexa Rokos during the Battle of the Bay girls’ basketball game on Thursday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Chase Dionio had a game-high 17 points to lead the Sailors (16-7). Bland had 11 points, six rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots. Emma Fults scored four points and pulled down 10 rebounds, and Cydney Jover had five points for Newport Harbor.

Newport Harbor coach Jillian Angell said that a bout of COVID-19 resulted in time away from the team for herself, an assistant and several players, which she said led to a loss of rhythm on the offensive end.

“We pretty much shut down Makena in the first half,” Angell said. “Dorothy got her couple threes, but we knew what we needed to do, pretty much shut Haley down … We were hitting. Chase was hot, and then second half, we just came out and we just didn’t run our offense.”

Corona del Mar and Newport Harbor are the frontrunners in their respective leagues, both currently at 3-0 in the Surf League and Wave League, respectively.

Newport Harbor's Emma Fults, left, and Kate Bland go for a rebound against CdM's Sarah Audiss, center and Makena Tomlinson.
Newport Harbor’s Emma Fults, left, and Kate Bland battle for a rebound against Corona del Mar’s Sarah Audiss, center and Makena Tomlinson during the Battle of the Bay girls’ basketball game on Thursday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Nonleague

Corona del Mar 49, Newport Harbor 41

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Corona del Mar 10 – 12 – 14 – 13 — 49

Newport Harbor 14 – 14 – 7 – 6 — 41

CdM — Schwenck 17, Tomlinson 17, Esquino 6, Rokos 5, Audiss 4.

3-pt. goals — Schwenck 5.

Fouled out — None.

Technicals — None.

NH — Dionio 19, Bland 11, Jover 5, Fults 4, Grum 2.

3-pt. goals — Dionio 2.

Fouled out — None.

Technicals — None.

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