CdM to play for title

CORONA DEL MAR — The Corona del Mar High girls' basketball team is going back to the championship game of its own tournament.

Coach Mark Decker did not look too thrilled about returning for a third straight year.

"Right now, I'm not," Decker said after his Sea Kings beat Estancia, 51-41, in the semifinals of the CdM Tip-Off Tournament on Thursday night.

"Our killer instinct is not there. I'm not happy at all."

The Sea Kings (3-0) can cheer up their coach on Saturday in the finale.

CdM plays the winner of today's semifinal game between Newport Harbor and Northwood. The loser faces Estancia (2-1) in a third-place game. The site of the first- and third-place game is Northwood.

Minutes after getting past Estancia, Decker was trying to change the time of the championship game. CdM's football team is playing Saturday in the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Southern Division playoffs. The game against Beckman at Tustin High is set for 7 p.m., the same time as the basketball tournament's title game.

"I know our girls want to see our football team play," Decker said before approaching Estancia Coach Xavier Castellano about switching times as the third-place game the Eagles are in is at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. "I've got to talk to Newport and Northwood."

Castellano said he has to check to see if the later time works with one of his players. She might have to work Saturday.

The Eagles tried to work their way back into Thursday's semifinal. They started behind, trailing CdM, 29-14, at halftime.

Estancia went into the night with two seniors hurt. Castellano said Kassie Stratton has a right calf issue and Brenda Soto dislocated her shoulder last week.

Stratton started, but played limited minutes. Soto sat at the end of the bench in street clothes.

With Estancia missing two key starters, CdM took advantage. The Sea Kings opened the second half on a 9-2 spurt, sparked by Jordan Meyers' layup.

Meyers led CdM with 13 points, and Saylor Schroff and Kayla Marolt each added 10 points. Schroff came up with a big steal and basket before the end of the third quarter.

After Estancia's Celia Duran beat defenders to the basket on three straight drives, cutting into CdM's lead, Schroff stole the ball from Duran near midcourt. Schroff went in for an uncontested layup, putting the Sea Kings ahead, 42-27, at the buzzer.

Castellano tried to settle his Eagles down, telling them, "It's OK. It's OK."

Things were not OK for Estancia at the start of the fourth.

Melanie de Arakal nailed a three-pointer and then Marolt pushed CdM's lead to 20 with a putback. The Sea Kings were on their way to cruising to the tournament championship until Estancia made a run in the final three minutes.

Yessenia Maldonado scored four of her 10 points during a 10-3 run. The Eagles just ran out of time, sending them to the third-place game at the 16-team tournament for the second straight year.

CdM Tip-Off Tournament


Corona del Mar 51, Estancia 41


Estancia 9 – 5 – 13 – 14 — 41

CdM 18 – 11 – 13 – 9 — 51

E – Maldonado 10, Duran 10, Stafford 6, Boldizar 5, Garcia 4, Rubalcava 2, Silva 2, Stratton 2.

3-pt. goals – Maldonado 1, Boldizar 1.

Fouled out – None.

Technicals – None.

CdM – Meyers 13, Schroff 10, Marolt 10, Nadal 9, de Arakal 7, Gallardo 2.

3-pt. goals – Schroff 2, de Arakal 2, Nadal 1, Meyers 1.

Fouled out – None.

Technicals – None.

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