CORONA DEL MAR — The Corona del Mar High boys' basketball teams gets to travel to the Central Coast again.
During the trip last December, Blake Grable said the Sea Kings enjoyed their stay.
"[We] expect to do the same thing, [have] a lot of fun," Grable said.
More is on the line in the upcoming trip and CdM isn't planning to stay for long.
The Sea Kings have one game in San Luis Obispo County on Friday, compared to the three they played two months ago.
They earned the right to hit the road.
Fifth-seeded CdM opened the CIF Southern Section Division 3A playoffs at home with a 63-41 rout of Laguna Hills on Wednesday.
Coach Ryan Schachter said he didn't send someone up north to scout the Sea Kings' next opponent, San Luis Obispo. And it made sense.
"Too far," Schachter said of the 196-mile trip to watch San Luis Obispo play at Lompoc Cabrillo.
Schachter expected San Luis Obispo to advance to the second round. The Sea Kings (16-10) have to travel 244 miles to face San Luis Obispo (14-11) at Morro Bay High at 6 p.m.
Schachter expects a much different game than the one Laguna Hills gave CdM.
"They share the ball well and they shoot the three really well," said Schachter of the Tigers, who tied for fourth place in the Pac-7 League. "If they get hot, we can be in trouble."
The Sea Kings never looked in danger of losing to the Hawks (12-17), an at-large entry out of the Sea View League.
The two programs played even for the first eight minutes, but CdM, the Pacific Coast League runner-up, began to take advantage of Laguna Hills' turnovers and bad shooting.
Grable helped the Sea Kings pull away in the second quarter. The junior made all four of his field-goal attempts in the quarter, giving CdM a 27-19 lead at halftime.
Grable said he was nervous at the start because it was his first start in the postseason. What allowed the guard to shake the nerves was converting two easy layups in a 25-second span in the second quarter.
Grable recorded nine of his 16 points in the second quarter. After missing his first two shots in the opening quarter, he went on to hit his final six shots, including two from three-point range.
In the third quarter, CdM's Jake McCloskey went to work from behind the arc. The senior knocked down back-to-back three-pointers from the same spot, the corner.
McCloskey sparked an 11-2 run, pushing CdM's lead to 42-26. The guard produced 10 of his game-high 17 points in the third quarter.
When the fourth quarter rolled around, CdM never let up. Max Stone, Joey Calise and Grable each nailed a three-pointer to blow the game open.
Stone finished with 10 points and Calise had eight points.
Schachter was able to pull his starters with about three minutes left to play. He went to lower-level players he called up for the playoffs.
One player Schachter was glad to rest was senior forward Andrew McCormack, who returned to the lineup after missing the regular-season finale because of a concussion.
"He's the heart and soul of our team," Schachter said of McCormack, who as the sixth man last season led the Sea Kings to their second straight quarterfinal appearance. "It was huge having him back. If we don't have him, who knows [what happens]?"
Maybe CdM wouldn't be going back to the Central Coast if McCormack doesn't play.
CIF Southern Section Division 3A
Corona del Mar 63, Laguna Hills 41
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Laguna Hills 9 – 10 – 9 – 13 — 41
CdM 9 – 18 – 22 – 14 — 63
LH – McMurray 9, Bieniak 7, Molt 7, Harrison 5, DeGrassi 3, T. Runyon 3, Doll 3, Nunez 2, Johnson 2.
3-pt. goals – McMurray 1, Bieniak 1, T. Runyon 1, Harrison 1.
Fouled out – None.
Technicals – None.
CdM – McCloskey 17, Grable 16, Stone 10,Calise 8, Manchester 4, McCormack 2, Coffman 2, Johnston 2, Fults 2.
3-pt. goals – McCloskey 3, Grable 2, Stone 1, Calise 1.
Fouled out – None.
Technicals – Griffin.