CORONA DEL MAR — Max Stone is the kind of basketball player who can come off the bench and drain a three-pointer on his first shot.
That is exactly what the junior did Tuesday, as he opened the second quarter for Corona del Mar High with a three. Coach Ryan Schachter calls Stone his best outside threat, so he expects Stone to shoot whenever he is open.
Stone passed up quality looks in the second, third and fourth quarters, only to frustrate his coach. Schachter needed someone to stop Woodbridge's fourth-quarter run, which gave the visitors their first lead since the opening quarter.
Stone no longer had the option of bypassing scoring chances. The Warriors went ahead by five with less than two minutes left to play.
The Sea Kings went to Stone. They kicked the ball out to him on the wing for a three-pointer and then swung it his way in the corner for another three.
In a 39-second span, Stone gave CdM a one-point lead by draining back-to-back three-pointers. Woodbridge never scored again and the Sea Kings won, 60-56, and kept their hopes of defending the Pacific Coast League title alive.
"That's the guy we want shooting from the outside," Schachter said of Stone, who finished with 10 points, most of the total coming on three three-pointers.
The Sea Kings handed the Warriors their first league setback and CdM is now one game behind first-place Woodbridge. Three league contests remain and CdM (13-9, 5-2 in league) has to win out and hope Woodbridge (16-7, 6-1) drops another league game for a chance to share the league crown with the Warriors.
Schachter doesn't see Woodbridge, ranked 10th in the CIF Southern Section Division 3AAA poll, losing again in league.
"They're so mentally tough," Schachter said of the Warriors, who rallied again in the fourth quarter against CdM, only to fall short the second time. "I thought we were going to give away another one [to the Warriors]. They don't go away."
The fourth quarter hasn't been kind this season to CdM, ranked fifth in Division 3A. Credit the Sea Kings for coming back late to pick up their fourth straight league victory.
Woodbridge trailed CdM by as many as 14 points twice, the first time in the second quarter and the second time in the third quarter.
The last time, the Warriors stormed back. They outscored CdM, 15-6, in the third quarter. Schachter ate into his team before the start of the final quarter.
Jake McCloskey gave CdM some breathing room by drilling a three-pointer 45 seconds into the fourth quarter. He beat the shot clock and gave the Sea Kings a 48-42 lead.
A couple of minutes later, Schachter pulled McCloskey for his defensive effort on a backdoor layup. McCloskey's night was over, finishing with 12 points off the bench.
The backdoor play spurred the Warriors' 13-2 run. They jumped ahead, 55-50, with 1:41 left to go.
Schachter let his team play, never calling a timeout to try to change the momentum. The Sea Kings ran their offense, dumping the ball inside to forward Andrew McCormack. He quickly kicked it out to Stone, who knocked down a three with 77 seconds left in the fourth.
Nineteen seconds later, the Warriors turned the ball over. The Sea Kings took advantage and they didn't settle for a tying basket.
They swung it around until someone was wide open behind the arc. That player happened to be the Sea Kings' sharpshooter in the corner.
Before Stone released the three, Schachter yelled, "Hit it!"
Stone swished it and gave CdM a 56-55 lead with 38.4 seconds left. The Warriors called a timeout nine seconds later.
"I was just looking for my shot at the end and I got it," said Stone, who heard Schachter yelling at him for not shooting earlier in the game.
Schachter was mad at Stone then. At the end, Schachter teased Stone.
"This kid's ego is already as big as this gym," Schachter said.
Pacific Coast League
Corona del Mar 60, Woodbridge 56
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Wood 13 – 14 – 15 – 14 — 56
CdM 18 – 21 – 6 – 15 — 60
WB – Scarlett 17, Gregson 8, Lodin 8, Arroyo 8, Busch 8, Ho 3, Rouk 2, McCutchan 2.
3-pt. goals – Scarlett 3, Busch 2, Ho 1.
Fouled out – None.
Technicals – None.
CdM – Grable 13, McCloskey 12, Calise 11, Stone 10, McCormack 6, Griffin 4, Olson 2, Coffman 2.
3-pt. goals – Stone 3, McCloskey 2, Grable 2, Calise 1.
Fouled out – None.
Technicals – None.