Coach Ryan Schachter likes to say his Corona del Mar High boys’ basketball team is not afraid to play anybody. And that includes the Sea Kings’ next opponent in their CdM Beach Bash tournament.
CdM gets to face Mater Dei, ranked No. 5 in the state by CalHiSports.com.
The Sea Kings used a balanced attack to win their pool and advance to the semifinals with a 67-53 victory against visiting Eastvale Roosevelt on Wednesday night.
Jack Stone scored 17 points, John Humphreys 15, Jack Garza 12 and Adam Garza 11. CdM is going to need more than that kind of production to keep up with the Monarchs on Friday.
“Mater Dei didn’t bring [its] A game early,” said Schachter, who saw some of the Monarchs’ game against Segerstrom at CdM on Wednesday. “I heard it was 31-19 at [the end of the first] half.”
Mater Dei only allowed the Jaguars to score two points in the second half en route to a 70-21 win, its fifth blowout of the season. The Monarchs have one loss in six games, a 67-61 setback to Whitney Young of Chicago, Ill., at the Chicago Elite Classic on Dec. 1.
The Sea Kings entered Wednesday with one loss as well. And for three quarters, they found themselves in a battle with Roosevelt.
The Mustangs’ pressure defense created problems for CdM (4-1). Still, the Sea Kings took a 41-39 lead into the fourth quarter.
Five three-point plays allowed CdM to create some distance. The Sea Kings shot 47% from behind the arc, making eight of 17 attempts.
The first three-point play in the fourth came 11 seconds into the quarter. Jack Garza attacked the basket and made a layup while CJ Bellemy fouled the 6-foot-7 center. Garza completed the three-point play at the free-throw line.
Humphreys hit his second three-pointer 29 seconds later. The Mustangs called a timeout after CdM scored the first six points in the fourth quarter.
Roosevelt (2-4) responded out of the timeout. Divine Nwoko, who finished with 12 points, made a three-pointer, but the Mustangs couldn’t slow down CdM.
Point guard Connor Schimmelpfennig found Stone behind the arc on the right side, where Stone drained the shot. Stone was back at it a couple of minutes later. He knocked down a three-pointer with 3½ minutes to go, and less than a minute later, Stone drove to the basket and made the shot while getting fouled. His free throw put the Sea Kings up 61-48.
Stone caught fire in the fourth, producing 11 points. The junior guard made all of his three shots and three free throws in the quarter. Stone said CdM is ready for Mater Dei.
“I’m super excited. It’s going to be a really, really good game,” he said. “They’re tough, got a lot of good kids. It should be a dogfight.”
Schachter liked Stone’s attitude heading into the semifinal with the Monarchs. The game is set for 8 p.m. Friday at CdM.
The other semifinal has Pacifica Christian Orange County (7-2) facing Trabuco Hills (3-1) at 6:30 p.m. The Tritons advanced with a 61-36 win over Los Alamitos, and Trabuco Hills made it by defeating Edison 52-48.
With Edison and Los Alamitos going down on Wednesday, the Sea Kings are the lone Surf League team in the championship bracket. The tournament is in its seventh year, and CdM has qualified for the semifinals five times.
Humphreys, who played in his second straight game since his football season ended with the Sea Kings losing in the CIF Southern Section Division 4 title game on Nov. 24, is expected to make his first start for the basketball team on Friday. The Sea Kings will need his 6-5 size against the big Monarchs, who feature 6-9 sophomore Wilhelm Breidenbach.
“When you’re an athlete [like Humphreys], you’re up for any challenge,” Schachter said. “You didn’t get to be one of the top [football] recruits in California and get offers from Notre Dame or wherever, and not live up for a challenge.”
Humphreys, a junior, said he’s looking forward to playing Mater Dei.
His older brother, Ben Humphreys, was a standout football player for the Monarchs before going on to play at Duke. The younger Humphreys almost went to Mater Dei, but the opportunity to play two sports led him to CdM, his neighborhood public school.
“They’re pretty good,” Humphreys said of the Monarchs. “But we just got to be shooting well, clicking on offense.
“[It’s] always fun playing good competition, especially in basketball.”
CdM Beach Bash
Corona del Mar 67, Eastvale Roosevelt 53
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Roosevelt 12 – 15 – 12 – 14 — 53
Corona del Mar 13 – 15 – 13 – 26 — 67
R – Nwoko 12, Smith 9, Little 8, Porter 8, Bellemy 5, Joseph 3, Daniels 2, Evans 2, Victorio 2, Benefield 2.
3-pt. goals – Little 2, Nwoko 2, Smith 2, Bellemy 1.
Fouled out – None.
Technicals – Coach Singleton.
CdM – Stone 17, Humphreys 15, J. Garza 12, A. Garza 11, J. Hamilton 7, Olson 3, Schimmelpfennig 2.
3-pt. goals – Stone 3, A. Garza 2, Humphreys 2, J. Hamilton 1.
Fouled out – None.