On Battle for the Bell night, the Costa Mesa High faithful were not starved for entertainment.
The junior varsity girls’ basketball game saw the Mustangs pull out a two-point win. Thirty minutes after the scheduled tip-off, it was time to strike up the band. Costa Mesa’s varsity girls’ basketball team would also find its rhythm early.
Senior small forward Katie Belmontes had 17 points, 14 rebounds, five steals and three assists, and the host Mustangs defeated rival Estancia 53-37 in the first meeting of the rivalry.
The Mustangs improved to 8-12 overall and 3-0 in the Orange Coast League. They came into Tuesday night in a three-way tie for first place in the league. The Mustangs now share first with Santa Ana.
Costa Mesa was able to work its advantage in the paint. Sophomore power forward Tarah Harmon had a game-high 21 points to go with nine rebounds and five steals. Senior center McKayla Ortiz added eight points and 15 rebounds.
“We’re a big team,” Harmon said. “That’s a huge advantage. We just take that advantage, and we work together and communicate. We put it together and win.”
Junior shooting guard Amy Martinez hit her first two shots, both of which were assisted by Samantha Filner.
Filner, a point guard, continued to distribute early. She assisted on her team’s first four baskets, including a Belmontes three-pointer at the 3:12 mark of the first quarter to give Costa Mesa a 10-4 lead.
“I’m excited about this year,” Filner said. “I’m so proud of the girls. I want my senior year to be great, and I love that my teammates are helping me out, getting me those assists, making those shots.”
Filner finished with 10 assists and three steals.
Harmon and Belmontes each had eight points in the second quarter, as the Mustangs opened their advantage to 32-11 going into halftime.
Estancia came out flying in the third quarter, beginning the second half on a 7-0 run. The Eagles would go on to win the third quarter 17-8, led by Saoirse Mulrooney’s seven points in the period.
For most of the second half, the Eagles played with foul trouble to their backcourt. It limited the ability of junior guard Pam Cabezaz, one of Estancia’s primary on-ball defenders, to be involved in full-court press, and she eventually fouled out in the fourth quarter.
Mulrooney finished with a team-high 15 points. Senior forward Leslie Escorcia added 10 points, five rebounds and three steals.
Estancia dropped to 6-11 overall and 0-3 in the league.
Orange Coast League
Costa Mesa 53, Estancia 37
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Estancia 6 – 5 – 17 – 9 — 37
Costa Mesa 16 – 16 – 8 – 13 — 53
E – Mulrooney 15, Escorcia 10, Martinez 6, Ceruti 2, Fuentes 2, Meza 1, Cabezaz 1.
3-pt. goals – Mulrooney 4, Martinez 2.
Fouled out – Cabezaz.
Technicals – None.
CM – Harmon 21, Belmontes 17, Ortiz 8, Martinez 5, Marin 2.
3-pt. goals – Belmontes 3.
Fouled out – None.