CORONA DEL MAR — Jake McCloskey walked toward the bench with a smile on his face at the end of the third quarter.
The senior had a good reason to be happy on Tuesday, even though Corona del Mar High boys' basketball coach Ryan Schachter told him, "Jake, you're out."
McCloskey had just knocked down a three-pointer with three seconds left, giving him 14 points in the third quarter against Beckman. The third quarter for McCloskey proved to be much different from the previous one in Pacific Coast League play.
McCloskey sat for most of the third quarter last Friday, most of the second half actually. He finished with zero points and the Sea Kings lost their second straight league contest.
Schachter allowed McCloskey to sit for much of the fourth quarter against Beckman. The Sea Kings didn't need him the rest of the way at home, as they took care of the Patriots, 77-54, and avoided their first three-game skid in league under Schachter.
McCloskey bounced back with 22 points on eight-of-15 shooting. Schachter, in his sixth season with the Sea Kings, said the performance came at a crucial time.
Schachter called the game a must-win situation for CdM (10-9, 2-2 in league), ranked sixth in the CIF Southern Section Division 3A poll. The Sea Kings couldn't afford to fall further behind Woodbridge (14-6, 4-0), which is in first place in league.
"Their goal was to compete for a league championship," Schachter said of his Sea Kings, who have won the league title the past two seasons. "We put ourselves behind the eight ball early, but this league has so much parity."
Second place is a logjam, with CdM, University, Northwood and Beckman sharing it.
McCloskey helped CdM join the rest of the three teams by attacking the basket and playing defense.
The Sea Kings led from the start, breaking away with the three-point shot.
The Sea Kings produced 11 three-point plays.
McCloskey hit the team's first three two minutes into the game, but McCloskey didn't always settle for the shot behind the arc.
Forty-one seconds into the second half, McCloskey did what Schachter has been asking him to do. Drive to the rim for easy baskets.
McCloskey converted five layups in the third quarter.
He went six of nine from the court in the quarter.
"When he attacks the basket, he's virtually unstoppable," Schachter said.
McCloskey figured out what Schachter has been preaching actually works.
"He feels like if I start driving to the hoop, my three will open," McCloskey said.
The three-point shot was there for McCloskey, who finished with two triples, and Max Stone.
While McCloskey watched from the bench in the fourth quarter, Stone put on an outside shooting clinic. Stone made each of his three three-point attempts in the final eight minutes, giving him five threes for the game.
Stone finished with a game-high 23 points. Not bad considering he came off the bench.
"Max is a shooter," said Schachter, who considers Stone the team's best three-point shooter.
Joey Calise, one of CdM's big men, joined the three-point action.
Calise, who had 14 points and eight rebounds, converted two three-point plays at the free-throw line in the second quarter. Each time a defender fouled him in the act of shooting.
The second time Beckman Coach Steve Fischel complained loudly about the call. One official heard Fischel and gave him a technical foul.
Almost all the calls seemed to go against the Patriots (7-13, 2-2), who committed 16 fouls in the first half.
"It was a physical game and the refs had their hands full," Schachter said. "Both Steve and I were jumping on the refs early and they warned us. It was definitely an ugly game, just a lot of fouls."
What wasn't ugly was the look on McCloskey's face after the transfer from Edison put CdM back into contention in league.
"The second half we played way harder," McCloskey said. "The last two [league] games … we were up [in] both games [in the fourth quarter] and we just let it slip [away]. Today we kept it up and kept pushing the lead."
Pacific Coast League
Corona del Mar 77, Beckman 54
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Beckman 9 – 18 – 14 – 13 — 54
CdM 16 – 23 – 19 – 19 — 77
B – Bartholomew 15, Biedgoly 9, Gibson 7, Cho 6, Del Rosario 6, Kim 6, Simmons 5.
3-pt. goals – Bartholomew 3, Gibson 1.
Fouled out – Shih, Biedgoly.
Technicals – Fischel, Shih.
CdM – Stone 23, McCloskey 22, Calise 14, McCormack 7, Grable 6, Olson 2, Griffin 2, Johnston 1.
3-pt. goals – Stone 5, McCloskey 2, Grable 1.
Technicals – Griffin.