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Boys basketball: Sailors hang tough in loss

July 10, 2000

Tony Altobelli

NEWPORT BEACH - If there ever was an opportunity to be happy over a

loss for the Newport Harbor High boys basketball team, Sunday's 67-53

setback to powerhouse Mater Dei in the finals of the George Yardley

Summer Cage Classic just might be it.

"We knew going in that we were going to have to play the game of our

life and even be a little lucky to beat Mater Dei tonight," Sailors coach

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Larry Hirst said. "Our top-six guys really played hard out there, but

Mater Dei's 8-9-10-man rotation really wore us out down the stretch."

It was down that stretch that the Monarchs pulled away from the

Sailors, going on a 16-4 run early in the third quarter, turning a

four-point lead into a comfortable 64-49 cushion.

For the Tars, Tony Melum had a strong offensive against the tall

timbers of Mater Dei, scoring 27 points.

"When he does what he's supposed to do, he's a very good post man,"

Hirst said. "We just need it from him on both sides of the court."

Aaron Yarnal, who was held scoreless in the first half, found some

open shots in the second half for 17 points, including four

three-pointers.

Newport's defense played strong in the first half, holding the

Monarchs to only nine first-quarter points and only 26 first-half points.

Mater Dei had scored 90 or more points in each of its four tournament

games.

The shooting finally came around for the Monarchs, outscoring the

Sailors, 25-16, in the final quarter.

Ricky Porter led the Monarchs with 22 points, while Kenny Chicoine

added 15.

"Their biggest strength is that their so fundamentally strong," Hirst

said of the Monarchs. "I was proud of how we hung tough and kept our

composure for the whole game."

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