Mesa's season ends

COSTA MESA — With less than three minutes left in the third quarter, the Costa Mesa High coaching staff yelled at the scoreboard operator.

"Stop the clock!" Coach Bryan Rice shouted first and then his assistants repeated his same words.

The operator heard the coaches, but he couldn't stop the game clock until 12 seconds vanished.

The coaches might have had more success if they had yelled at their team to stop their opponent on Friday.

The Mustangs really stood no chance at home against Pacific Hills of West Hollywood in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 4A playoffs.

The top-seeded Bruins rolled past Costa Mesa, 64-32, and into the quarterfinals.

Costa Mesa almost recorded as many turnovers as points.

"There's a reason they [were ranked in top 20 in the] state [by Cal-Hi Sports]," Rice said. "You look at us, [we're] probably No. 400 in the state, and everybody else in our division is in that kind of range.

"They got that No. 11 kid [Brandon Taylor, who is Division I] bound, [and] No. 4 [Namon Wright] for them, a sophomore kid, is [Division I] bound. We don't have a kid that's going to play Division I basketball."

Despite the discrepancy in talent, the Mustangs hung with Pacific Hills in the first quarter.

They trailed, 16-13, after eight minutes. The Mustangs made the most of their scoring chances, making five of seven field-goal attempts, including three of four from three-point range.

Some in the gym believed Costa Mesa might make it a contest, even pull off an upset and push its school record for wins in a season to 20.

But after the opening quarter, the turnovers began to pile up for Costa Mesa as fast as the athletic Bruins went up for layups.

The Mustangs (19-10) might have avoided Pacific Hills (20-8), which shared the Alpha League title, this early in the playoffs if they had placed second in the Orange Coast League. Costa Mesa finished third and found itself on the top part of the bracket with the Bruins.

Rice was able to lead Costa Mesa to its first playoff triumph in seven seasons on Wednesday. A second win at home in the postseason was unlikely once Pacific Hills began to pound the boards.

"We didn't box out well enough tonight to stay [in the game]," Rice said. "They got a lot of second-chance points. That's what ultimately extended their lead. They probably didn't shoot a very high percentage, but they got a lot of attempts."

The extra opportunities allowed the Bruins to blow the game open in the third quarter. They went into the final quarter ahead, 47-27.

Four starters for Pacific Hills finished in double figures.

Taylor, a senior point guard, produced a game-high 16 points, and Jordan Mills and Jason Kidd Jr., the son of the NBA point guard, had 14 points apiece.

Kidd grabbed 12 rebounds. Kidd even defended guard Jordan Walden, who led the Mustangs with 10 points.

Walden was the only Costa Mesa player in double figures. Nick Hefner finished with eight points. The two seniors knocked down two three-pointers each.

"I'm so proud of our guys, even though the score got away from us, we kept going hard the whole time," Rice said. "[The loss is] going to hurt for a little bit, but moving forward, they're going to know that they battled no matter what, and that's something that they can build on for the rest of their lives."

Twitter: @DCPenaloza


CIF Southern Section Division 4A

Second round

Pacific Hills 64, Costa Mesa 32


PH 16 – 17 – 14– 17 — 64

CMHS 13 – 5 – 9 – 5 — 32

PH – Taylor 16, Mills 14, Kidd 14, Jackson 12, Wright 6, Ramirez 2.

3-pt. goals – Jackson 2.

Fouled out – None.

CM – Walden 10, N. Hefner 8, Dawson 5, J. Comer 2, K. Hefner 2, Weber 2, El-Assadi 2, S. Comer 1.

3-pt. goals – Walden 2, N. Hefner 2, Dawson 1.

Fouled out – None.

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