GLENDALE — The Hoover High boys' basketball team found out quickly that Friday's playoff opponent was nothing like its competition in Wednesday's opening round.
That was bad news for the Tornadoes.
After getting away with playing a sub-par game in the opening round against Firebaugh, the Tornadoes didn’t have much leeway against third-seeded Corona del Mar.
Hoover fell behind early and couldn’t catch up, falling, 55-32, at home in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 3-AA playoffs.
“They’re good,” Tornadoes Coach Jack Van Patten said. “We didn’t give up a lot of points, but you’re not going to win a lot of games with just 32 points.”
At times, the Tornadoes (14-14) played better than they did Wednesday, but the Sea Kings (20-3) were simply better and deeper than Hoover.
The second quarter proved it.
The Sea Kings, who placed second in the Pacific Coast League, outscored the Tornadoes, 16-7, in the frame to take a 13-point lead into the locker room. They shot 12 of 26 (46.2%) from the field, efficiently and patiently running their offense for open looks while limiting the Tornadoes’ scoring opportunities.
“We’re not always patient and efficient,” said Corona del Mar Coach Ryan Schachter, whose team will play El Dorado or San Marcos in Tuesday’s quarterfinals. “We’ve been hammering that. We tried to run stuff to get some open looks and get into the paint. We have good players who can pass and handle the ball.”
The trends of the first half continued in the second half, as Corona del Mar scored four unanswered points to start the third quarter. The Sea Kings increased their lead in the quarter, taking a 20-point advantage into the fourth after Hoover made just one shot — to Corona del Mar's six — in the period.
Hoover made just three shots – with a three-pointer coming in the final 15 seconds – in the second half.
The Tornadoes, an at-large berth from the Pacific League, didn’t get closer than 12 in the second half, as the Sea Kings silenced a once loud Hoover crowd.
Corona del Mar had four players who caused fits for the Tornadoes. Blake Grable led the Sea Kings with 10 points, with Kevin Fults and Max Stone also contributing 10 points each and Tyler Duncan adding eight.
“That’s a really good team,” Tornadoes junior Teo Davidian said. “They knew we were going to make a run at them and they stayed patient.
“Nothing went in for us.”
Hoover was 11 of 40 (27.5%) from the field.
With one starter – Ando Adjemian – out because of a foot injury and another one – Francis Roncal – hobbled by a leg injury, the Tornadoes didn’t have their same rhythm on offense.
“We scouted them,” Schachter said. “We thought we were prepared for them. They have so many guards who can pass and shoot. That makes it hard for a defense, but our defense did great.”
Senior Jashley Francisco led the Tornadoes with 12 points and fellow senior Arvin Atakhanian had nine. Davidian added six.
Despite the loss, Van Patten was proud of his squad, especially considering it defeated Firebaugh, 49-46, for its first playoff victory since 2008.
Said Van Patten: “Without a doubt it was a good run.”