CdM in tie for second

IRVINE — The road has been tough for the Corona del Mar High boys' basketball team this season.

It got harder for the Sea Kings on Monday night. In a must-win situation to keep their Pacific Coast League title hopes alive, their leading scorer forgot his game shorts.

The Sea Kings were caught with their shorts down at Beckman and it cost them any chance at defending their league crown. They tried to pull themselves together late, rallying, only to fall short away from home again.

The Patriots held on for a 56-51 upset win, moving them into a second-place tie with CdM in league.

The league finale is Wednesday and the Sea Kings will travel to Northwood, looking to finish in second place. CdM has only finished second once in Coach Ryan Schachter's five seasons in charge, the other four seasons he led them to the top.

"This season, nothing's come easy," said Schachter, who later learned that Woodbridge improved to 8-1 in league after a win against Irvine, allowing the Warriors to claim the outright league title. "We have to grind everything out of them. This is just another obstacle we faced this year.

"You have to be mentally tough [on the road]."

The Sea Kings (14-10, 6-3 in league), ranked fifth in the CIF Southern Section Division 3A poll, have only one victory away home.

Schachter said if CdM doesn't finish second in league, his team would most likely have to travel next week in the opening round of the playoffs. And in the postseason, gyms get loud.

Beckman (11-14, 6-3) had that type of playoff fervor and it seemed to affect the Sea Kings. They appeared lost at the start, falling behind by as many as 15 points in the first half.

A band played and fans chanted throughout, even the PA announcer's voice boomed. The noise also created problems for Schachter, but he had a good excuse. He said he has an ear infection.

"With my ear infection, [my ear] is ringing," Schachter said.

Schachter's head was boiling as well, when he found out Jake McCloskey forgot his shorts to the crucial game.

Schachter sat his top scorer for the first 10 minutes of the game and it contributed to CdM's slow start. During that stretch, CdM managed just seven points.

Despite the offensive woes, the Sea Kings came back in the fourth quarter and had a shot at winning. They went on a 13-2 run, cutting the deficit to 52-51 with 75 seconds left.

Everyone seemed to contribute during the five-minute run.

Blake Grable, who was held scoreless for the first three quarters, knocked down five free throws, three coming in consecutive attempts after he was fouled behind the arc.

Max Stone, a three-point specialist, twice drove for baskets, giving him a team-high 13 points. The second time, CdM got within one point after point guard Jeff Johnston found Stone for an easy transition layup off a turnover.

The Sea Kings had the opportunity to go ahead with less than a minute to go, but an errant pass to a wide-open Johnston up top hurt CdM.

Eric Shih pushed Beckman's lead to 54-51 with 31 seconds left, forcing CdM to call a timeout. Schachter diagramed a three-point play, and Johnston ran it, going toward the baseline before hitting a wide-open Stone in the corner.

Stone, who hit two threes in the third quarter, shot another three. He missed it, but Johnston got the offensive rebound and kicked the ball out.

The Sea Kings had another quality three-point look, but Joey Calise's attempt was no good.

Calise finished with 11 points and seven rebounds.

Brady Simmons led Beckman with 15 points.

"We got good looks at the end," Schachter said.

"We've got to fix our own issues, especially on the road."

Pacific Coast League

Beckman 56, Corona del Mar 51


CdM 4 – 13 – 16– 18 — 51

Beckman 9 – 19 – 18 – 10 — 63

CdM – Stone 13, Calise 11, McCormack 6, Grable 5, Griffin 4, McCloskey 4, Coffman 4, Olson 2, Johnston 2

3-pt. goals – Stone 2, Griffin 1.

Fouled out – None.

Technicals – None.

B – Simmons 15, Biedgoly 12, Kim 8, Bartholomew 6, Del Rosario 6, Shih 5, Gibson 4.

3-pt. goals – Del Rosario 2, Shih 1, Bartholomew 1, Gibson 1.

Fouled out – Kim.

Technicals – None.

Twitter: @DCPenaloza

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