CORONA DEL MAR — Winter sports are here, but the members of the Corona del Mar High girls' basketball team are understandably still quite interested in the school's last fall sports squad competing.
The CdM football team plays for its second straight CIF Southern Section Southern Division title at 2 p.m. Saturday at Angel Stadium. The girls' basketball team also has to play its last game of the CdM Tip-Off Classic on the same day.
The more games the CdM girls win in the tournament, the later their game on Saturday, which means more time for football watching.
"That's more incentive for us to win," CdM Coach Mark Decker said.
It's less of an issue now after his team moved to the semifinals Wednesday night with a 51-40 victory over Mission Viejo at CdM. The Sea Kings (2-0) will play Segerstrom in the semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at CdM.
The third-place game is Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at Northwood High, with the title game to follow at 7 p.m.
Corona del Mar (2-0) appears to be capable of winning the 16-team tournament for the first time since 2008. The Sea Kings have size inside with 6-foot-1 freshmen Krista Anderson and Natalie Bruening, and talent on the perimeter with players like junior guards Kate Thompson, Katie Scott, Chanel Wosoughkia and Keaton Gaughan.
"I think we're going to win [the tournament]," said Anderson, who led the winners with 12 points and 18 rebounds, in addition to two blocked shots Wednesday. "I hope so. I think that if we play like we did today, we'll do great."
Mission Viejo (1-1) pressed the Sea Kings most of the game, with varying levels of success. But the Diablos backed off by the end.
"We definitely figured it out in the second half," Decker said. "They dropped out of their press, because we started tearing it apart. That's what we have to do. Most teams are going to need to press us, or try, because we have the size advantage."
CdM trailed, 17-14, early in the second quarter. But a three-pointer by Scott helped spark a 14-2 run, and the Sea Kings opened up a 31-26 halftime lead.
Mission Viejo tied the score at 35-35 late in the third quarter on two free throws by sophomore forward Samantha Leyds, who had a game-high 20 points.
But the Sea Kings scored 11 straight points to gain control.
The Diablos missed their first 12 shots of the fourth quarter before a runner by Leyds with 3:10 left in the game.
Bruening battled early foul trouble but finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and six blocks for CdM.
Scott scored all nine of her points in the second quarter, and Wosoughkia chipped in nine points and seven rebounds off the bench.
Thompson had five points for CdM, and led all players with eight steals.
Segerstrom will not be an easy opponent for the Sea Kings in the semifinals. The Jaguars are the defending tournament champions, and beat CdM in the semifinals last year.
"They're very good," Decker said. "They're the top-seeded team on our side [of the bracket], so we know we have our hands full. I think it'll be a good, competitive game. I'm looking forward to it."
CdM Tip-Off Classic
Corona del Mar 51,
Mission Viejo 40
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Mission Viejo 11 – 15 – 9 – 5 — 40
CdM 13 – 18 – 8 – 12 — 51
MV – Leyds 20, Moccio 6, Loscot 5, Nelson 5, Cueva 2, Ringold 2.
3-pt. goals – Nelson 1.
CdM – Anderson 12, Bruening 11, Wosoughkia 9, Scott 9, Thompson 5, Gaughan 2, King 2, Tam 1.
3-pt. goals – Scott 1.
Fouled out – None.