Estancia swats Mesa

COSTA MESA — After pleading for a timeout from the sideline with less than three minutes left in the first half, Costa Mesa High Coach Bryan Rice got it a little too late.

Rice yelled toward the referees when Estancia took a two-point lead. No one heard him.

The lead then grew into double digits in just 43 seconds. The whistle finally blew for Rice.

The Mustangs never recovered and it cost them a share of second place in the Orange Coast League and the Battle for the Bell.

Estancia went into halftime on a 14-4 run and pulled away from its cross-town rival in the second half for a 64-42 road victory Thursday.

The Eagles secured second place in league in the regular-season finale and they rung the Bell for the fourth straight season.

The Mustangs (11-15, 5-5 in league) heard the Bell after suffering their worst league loss of the season. That is not how the third-place team in league wanted to return to the CIF Southern Section Division V-AA playoffs next week after missing the postseason last season.

Coach Agustin Heredia smiled. The Eagles (16-11, 7-3) are heading into the Division IV-AA playoffs on a positive note.

"We won this game, which is important to the community and our kids," said Heredia, whose team swept the two-game series against Costa Mesa.

"It's good to go into the playoffs with a two-game winning streak."

Estancia closed out league play much better than last season, when they dropped their final two games, including one to Costa Mesa that gave the Mustangs their lone league victory.

The setbacks devastated the Eagles' league title hopes. They went into the first-round of the playoffs down, and that is how they finished.

Davon Joyner does not want Estancia to go one-and-out again. The 6-foot-4 senior led Estancia with 20 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two blocks.

Joyner ignited the team by scoring 11 points in the second quarter. That is when the Eagles took the Mustangs out of the game, outscoring them, 26-11, in eight minutes.

Estancia enjoyed a 30-19 lead at halftime. Shooting hurt Costa Mesa as it just converted five of 21 shots in the first half.

Eleven of those attempts came from behind the three-point line. Only one went in.

"They made shots and we didn't," said Rice, who saw two of his top shooters, Jordan Walden and Matthew Dimson, struggle with their shot. "I think Jordan missed his first [12] shots. He has an off night we're going to struggle.

"Our worst two games of this season so far have been against Estancia. I don't think it's a whole lot what they do. They play hard, but every team in our league plays hard. Congratulations to them."

The Eagles celebrated, rightfully so. They shot lights out in the final three quarters, hitting 55% percent of their field-goal attempts.

Ray Holmes knocked down the shots from the perimeter. The senior made half of the Eagles' six three-pointers and finished with 14 points.

Rashad Davis worked inside, using his 6-6 size for easy baskets. The junior came off the bench and he contributed 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Ten of those points came in the second half.

Davis also did a good job slowing down Costa Mesa 6-7, 285-pound center Andrew Albers and getting him into foul trouble early.

Ninety-three seconds into the second quarter, Davis recorded an offensive rebound on his own miss. He quickly went back for a successful put-back shot. Albers fouled Davis in the act of shooting and picked up his second foul.

When Albers went to the bench, Costa Mesa led, 11-10. The Mustangs lost the advantage in the next couple of minutes and never led again.

"We were lucky that the big kid was out," said Heredia, referring to Albers, who last season played a huge role in Costa Mesa picking up its lone league win in the regular-season finale and ruining Estancia's league title hope at the same time.

Albers this time just had seven points, to go with 14 points, and no blocks.

"We talked about getting out of here with second place," Heredia said. "We had a chance to win league [last week but we lost twice], but second is good."

Second is good, especially after you do not have to share it with your rival.

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Orange Coast League

Estancia 64, Costa Mesa 42

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Est 4 – 26 – 13 – 21 — 64

CM 8 – 11 – 9 – 14 — 42

E – Joyner 20, Holmes 14, Davis 14, Umansky 7, Beck 6, Ayala 3.

3-pt. goals – Holmes 3, Beck 1, Umansky 1, Ayala 1.

Fouled out – None.

CM – Dawson 10, Dimson 10, Albers 7, Hefner 6, Comer 4, El-Assadi 3, Hayes 2.

3-pt. goals – Dimson 2.

Fouled out – None.

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