IRVINE — The scar tissue that Corona del Mar High collected in Friday's Pacific Coast League overtime win against boys' basketball host Woodbridge, had only marginally to do with the cut near the left eye of Sea Kings senior center Marcus Bradley.
The Warriors, in fact, nearly inflicted more than a flesh wound, before CdM was able to prevail and clinch at least a share of its second straight league crown. The Sea Kings (17-7, 8-0 in league), ranked No. 3 in CIF Southern Section Division III-AA, need only one more win, or a loss by second-place University to claim the outright league championship. Friday was the Sea Kings' 19th straight league victory, dating back to 2009. CdM plays at University on Monday at 7 p.m.
But none of the wins during that league winning streak had come at Woodbridge, where the student section was packed and pumped on senior night.
"It's a very tough place to play," said CdM Coach Ryan Schachter, who was also challenged by the flu. "I have a headache like you wouldn't believe here. And the [crowd] noise doesn't help."
The Warriors (16-10, 5-3), ranked No. 9 in CIF Division III-A, made some noise throughout. They seized a 13-3 advantage, held a lead in each of the next three quarters, and had two three-point attempts in the final minute of regulation that could have won the game.
After Bradley scored 11 of the Sea Kings' 12 points in overtime to create the final cushion, Woodbridge senior guard Jimmy Harrington sank an eight-foot jump hook with 11 seconds left, then intercepted a pass near midcourt and launched a three-point attempt from roughly 28 feet. The ball bounced off the heel as the buzzer sounded, allowing CdM to avert another overtime and, perhaps, an upset loss.
"I give [the Warriors] credit," Schachter said. "They played a heck of a game. We needed one of these in league to get us going. It was a good game."
Bradley, who finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds, also said the scare will do the Sea Kings good.
"Sometimes we get too relaxed playing league games," said Bradley, who made three layups, twice while being fouled by Warriors who fouled out, to account for all three CdM field goals after regulation. CdM had won its seven previous league contests by an average of 20 points, with a 60-50 home win over Woodbridge the closest call before Friday.
Bradley was held scoreless in the fourth quarter, three minutes of which he missed while having the aforementioned cut tended to in the locker room.
"When I got cut, I thought I was done," said the 6-foot-6 standout, who did not miss a field-goal attempt and netted five of six foul shots during overtime. "I told myself that if I was able to come back, I just wanted to play hard, take the ball to the basket and either finish or try to get to the free-throw line."
Woodbridge led, 54-49, with 2:53 left in regulation, but a three-pointer by senior Clayton Ragsdale (12 points) and an eight-foot runner in the lane by senior Keegan Jakosky with a minute left created a 54-54 deadlock.
On Woodbridge's subsequent possession, CdM senior guard Chris Freeman nearly came away with a steal in the lane, before a jump-ball call. Woodbridge was awarded the ball out of bounds due to the possession arrow with a mere six seconds left on the shot clock. After a timeout, however, Warriors senior Calvin Clark appeared confused that the shot clock was running down. He casually dribbled the ball on the perimeter, before some yelling from the hosts' bench prompted him to launch a desperation three-point heave that hit the standard attaching the backboard to the roof.
CdM's subsequent possession ended with a turnover with 8.8 seconds left in regulation, but Woodbridge could not cash in the gift.
Woodbridge opened the overtime with a tip-in by senior Omar Lodin (14 points and 11 boards).
But Bradley scored the game's next six points and, with his cut bleeding through a bandage, helped CdM toughen up for the upcoming postseason.
"We need to start getting in playoff mode," Bradley said. "The way we played, we should have lost this game. But we came together like a family and that's why we won."
Bradley dismissed any concern about his cut eye.
"I might have to get stitches, but it's just a battle wound," he said.
Senior Danny Cheek had 15 points and four three-pointers for CdM.
Pacific Coast League
Corona del Mar 66, Woodbridge 63 (OT)
Score by Periods
CdM 9 – 23 – 12 – 10 – 12 — 66
Wood 13 – 17 – 15 – 9 – 9 — 63
CdM – Bradley 25, Cheek 15, Ragsdale 12, McCormack 5, Jakosky 4, Haly 3, Freeman 2.
3-pt. goals – Cheek 4, Regsdale 2.
Fouled out – None.
Wood – Lodin 14, Harrington 14, Grstrein 13, Scarlett 9, Clark 6, Wylly 4, Arroyo 3.
3-pt. goals – Harrington 2, Lodin 1, Clark 1.
Fouled out – Grstrein, Wylly.