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Newport Harbor boys’ basketball clamps down in Battle of the Bay win

Newport Harbor's Riggs Guy celebrates during the first Battle of the Bay game against Corona del Mar on Wednesday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)
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Hard-nosed defense has traditionally been a calling card of the Newport Harbor High boys’ basketball team.

The Sailors put that on full display Wednesday night in a big game against their crosstown rivals.

Corona del Mar couldn’t get anything going and was held to a season-low point total. The Sailors earned the court rush of their student fans after taking round one of this year’s Battle of the Bay.

Newport Harbor earned a 56-35 victory in the big Wave League game, moving into sole possession of first place halfway through league.

Newport Harbor's Dash Bastedo, left, and Adam Gaa go up to block a shot against CdM's Nicholas Salmon on Wednesday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Senior post player Adam Gaa led all scorers with 14 points and added seven rebounds. His back-to-back dunks early in the second half to energize the home crowd.

“We’re pretty long, we’re pretty athletic and I’d like to think we play pretty hard,” Sailors coach Bob Torribio said. “That’s a tough combination to go against. It’s hard to scout length, and it’s hard to scout length that plays that hard ... That helps a little bit, a senior coming in and making a couple of plays for you right there.”

Junior forwards Riggs Guy and Dash Bastedo each added 11 points for Newport Harbor (17-6, 3-0 in league). Sophomore guard Jack Berry was hot early, scoring seven of his 10 points in the first quarter, and senior point guard Isaac Davis added seven points and dished out five assists.

Both teams appeared tight early, combining to miss their first 12 shots of the game. But the Sailors, ranked No. 5 in CIF Southern Section Division 3A, settled in. They led by as many as 13 points in the first half, before five quick points from CdM senior Jack Loucks cut the visitors’ deficit to 24-16 at halftime.

Newport Harbor's Adam Gaa goes up for a shot against Corona del Mar's Derek Curry during Wednesday's game.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Loucks finished with a team-high 12 points for Corona del Mar (14-7, 2-1), ranked No. 13 in Division 3AA. Sophomore Jackson Harlan, who coach Jason Simco said is the first athlete to play both varsity boys’ basketball and water polo in his 18 years with the program, added 11 points.

But a pair of steals by Gaa in the opening minute of the second half led to the two dunks. They pushed the Newport Harbor lead back into double digits, where it would remain for the rest of the game.

“That felt great,” Gaa said. “It’s awesome to get up, get the crowd going. That really gave us momentum to close it out ... We knew they couldn’t really match up size-wise with us. We definitely used that to our advantage tonight.”

Corona del Mar's Jackson Harlan goes up for a shot against Newport Harbor's Adam Gaa during Wednesday's game.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Simco gave credit to the Sailors, who blanked CdM senior standout guard Ilan Agranovich in the first half. Agranovich ended up with six points.

“They just outworked us,” said Simco, whose team had a five-game winning streak snapped. “I thought our transition defense was poor. Credit to them, their big guys are out running the lanes. Too many easy looks. They drill that corner dive when they penetrate. We worked on it for two or three days, but we’re young down there. I’m playing two sophomores in there, and we got caught with our heads watching and turning. We were on our heels all night, and they were playing downhill.”

Newport Harbor plays at Edison on Friday night in a Sunset Conference crossover game, while CdM travels to Fountain Valley.

Wave League play resumes for both teams on Jan. 27. Torribio said he believes this is the first time in his 11 seasons in charge that the Sailors have been undefeated halfway through league play.

Newport Harbor's student section cheers during the first Battle of the Bay game against Corona del Mar on Wednesday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

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Wave League

Newport Harbor 56, Corona del Mar 35

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Corona del Mar 4 – 12 – 9 – 10 35

Newport Harbor 13 – 11 – 19 – 13 56

CdM — Loucks 12, Harlan 11, Agranovich 6, Annett 6.

3-pt. goals — Loucks 2, Annett 1.

Fouled out — None.

Technicals — None.

NH — Gaa 14, R. Guy 11, Bastedo 11, Berry 10, Davis 7, G. Guy 3.

3-pt. goals — Berry 2, R. Guy 1, Davis 1, G. Guy 1.

Fouled out — None.

Technicals — Gaa.

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