COSTA MESA — Molly Settles delivered for Costa Mesa High as she went right at Newport Harbor's best player Thursday night.
Settles settled down the Sailors with two big buckets and led the Costa Mesa girls' basketball team to a 44-30 nonleague win.
Newport Harbor came within, 32-28, with six minutes left in the game. But Settles, a 5-foot-8 guard, scored twice on 6-2 center Kasey Thompson.
Settles, who scored a team-high 14 points, used a driving hook shot over Thompson to give Mesa a 34-28 lead. Then she scored in the paint with a quick shot on Thompson with 4:48 left.
Settles' shots were part of the Mustangs' 14-2 run to close out the game.
"It was fun," Settles said of scoring against Thompson.
Settles, just like Thompson, is making the transition from volleyball to basketball. Settles called the transition tough and it has been challenging to improve her shooting.
She appeared just fine against the Sailors (4-6). Thompson also played well.
She scored a game-high 18 points to go with 11 rebounds and four blocked shots.
"She's tough," Settles said of Thompson. "She's strong and she knows how to just put it up when she gets the ball."
Costa Mesa Coach Nichole Maddox thought the Mustangs began the game with sloppy play. But she admired the way her players responded in the second half.
Newport Harbor junior Halle McClain scored six of her seven points to open the third period, helping the Sailors lead, 20-17, with 4:27 left in the quarter.
But the Mustangs closed out the third with an 11-2 run. Settles scored six points in the spurt. Senior Nancy Aguilar had five points in Costa Mesa's third-quarter run, including one of her three three-pointers.
Aguilar came off the bench to score 13 points for the Mustangs (6-6).
"I didn't like the way we let them to stay in the game," Maddox said. "But [the Mustangs] pulled together at the end and picked up the intensity."
Newport Harbor Coach Justin Long said the Sailors don't have enough offensive firepower at this point in the season to overcome an eight-point lead late in the game. After Settles' scored twice in the fourth quarter, the Sailors struggled to find any type of momentum.
Maddox said the Mustangs used a team effort because they don't really have a true go-to scorer. But Settles stepped into that role in the second half with 10 of her 14 points.
Costa Mesa 44, Newport Harbor 30
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Newport 6 – 6 – 10 – 8 – 30
Mesa 9 – 6 – 13 – 16 – 44
NH – Thompson 18, McClain 7, Bower 2, Lopez 2, Raya 1.
3-pt goals – None.
Fouled out – None.
Technicals – None.
CM – Settles 14, Aguilar 13, Castro 7, Roman 4, Loredo 3, Witter 2, Obong 1.
3-pt goals – Aguilar 3, Castro 1.
Fouled out – Witter.
Technicals – None.