COSTA MESA — Long, lean and sometimes lenient when it comes to surrendering position inside, Estancia High senior Rashad Davis proved Saturday night that he might bend, but not break.
The 6-foot-6 post player had eight of his 12 points in the fourth quarter to help the Eagles complete a comeback and defeat visiting Newport Harbor, 44-36, in a nonleague boys' basketball contest.
Davis, who came in averaging 19.1 points and 15.3 rebounds per game, had four points and 11 rebounds through three quarters, after which his Eagles trailed, 31-26.
But Davis, who missed four straight foul shots in the third quarter to help the Sailors remain on top despite a scoreless span of 5:30, made all four of his free throws in the final period. He was also two for three from the field in the final eight minutes, when he collected six rebounds and one blocked shot. He finished with 17 rebounds.
The 190-pound Davis said keeping his cool against the smaller, stronger, more aggressive Tars, was perhaps more difficult than keeping the faith that his Eagles (9-8) would rally.
"They did [push me around inside]," said Davis, who often bent awkwardly at the waist when shooting, with the help of a firmly applied hand and/or elbow from a defender. "But I had to handle it the best way I could and not lose my temper or get out of control. I just wanted to keep it maintained."
Davis' defensive presence made things even more difficult for the Sailors, who, forced to hoist jumpers from the perimeter, cooled considerably after halftime. Newport Harbor (4-10), connected on just three of 23 field-goal attempts in the second half (13%), and just one of 11 in the fourth quarter (9%).
Estancia, which endured a scoreless drought of 7:41 in the first half on its way to a 27-18 deficit, scored the final two points of the third quarter and the first four of the fourth period to close to within 31-30 with 6:11 left.
Sophomore Martin Harry netted a pair of technical foul shots with 6:11 remaining after a Sailors' player was penalized for taunting after an Estancia foul inside. So, instead of having the ball on its offensive end, Newport surrendered two free throws and possession.
Estancia could not convert, however and a steal and layup by Nic Sargeant upped the Tars lead to 33-30 with 5:54 left.
But Estancia junior Ben Beck sank a three-pointer from the left corner with 3:56 left to pull the Eagles even and begin a 12-1 Estancia run that also ended with a Beck three ball with 59 seconds left.
Newport Harbor managed just two free throws the rest of the way to absorb its eighth straight loss.
Senior Lucas Pereira had eight points and nine rebounds for the winners, for whom junior Chad Fackler chipped in seven points and six boards.
Harry had four points and four assists for Estancia, which had only seven players available.
"We hit some key shots at key moments, but we were fortunate that they missed some shots, too," Estancia Coach Agustin Heredia said. "We talked at halftime about being patient on offense and cutting back on mental turnovers. We were playing hard, defensively [in the first half], and we continued to play hard. If you play hard, good things are going to happen. I don't know if it was our defense, or if [the Sailors] just got cold. But we'll take it."
Estancia finished 15 of 47 from the field (31.9%), while Newport Harbor, which made five of 11 field-goal tries to open a 14-11 first-quarter lead, was 13 for 48 (27.1%).
Estancia had just six of its 19 turnovers after intermission, while the visitors had nine of their 14 turnovers after the break.
"We've had a few quarters this year when we've had trouble scoring," Newport Harbor Coach Larry Hirst said. "We have been relying on our outside shot. But give [the Eagles] credit, they came back."
Estancia had lost five of six coming in, which made the triumph all the sweeter.
"We needed a win," Heredia said. "The last team we beat was Western Christian and we were much better than they were, so this was a nice win for us."
The 36 points for Newport Harbor were a season low. Sargeant had a team-high 11 for the Tars.
It marked the seventh time this season that Estancia has held an opponent to 41 or fewer.
Estancia 44, Newport Harbor 36
SCORE BY QUARTERS
NH 14 – 13 – 4 – 5 — 36
Estancia 11 – 7 – 8 – 18 — 44
NH – Robbs 5, Aqueveque 2, Sargeant 11, Wade 5, Beauchamp 2, Rettig 5, Jensen 2, Bergquist 2, Rakestraw 2.
3-pt. goals – Sargeant 1, Robbs 1, Rettig 1.
Fouled out – Aqueveque.
Technicals – Robbs 1.
Est – Fackler 7, Davis 12, Beck 9, Harry 4, Sullivan 0, Pereira 8, Mendoza 4.
3-pt. goals – Beck 3, Fackler 1.