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Sailors edge CdM

July 10, 2005

Richard Dunn

FOUNTAIN VALLEY -- The balance of power in the Back Bay has always

shifted like a small tremor, similar to the storied boys basketball

rivalry between Newport Harbor High and Corona del Mar.

While Saturday morning's setting didn't include bands and

streamers and a packed gymnasium, it featured the usual tug-of-war,

albeit summer, between Coach Larry Hirst's Sailors and Coach Ryan

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Curry's Sea Kings in a consolation semifinal in the George Yardley

Summer Cage Classic at Fountain Valley High.

They could have played at any park or court in Newport Beach --

indoors or outdoors -- and enjoyed it just as much. And whether it

was summer or winter, the intensity and level of action was beyond

anything within the basic concept of high school competition.

Consider: Newport Harbor drives its way to a 17-point lead in the

second quarter, but the Sea Kings rally in the second half, pull

within two in the fourth quarter, before the Sailors won a 55-52

edge-of-your-seat finish.

"We rallied," Curry said, "but what we talked about with our kids

is that you have to be where you're competitive at the beginning of

games. We've been getting blown out early in games, so we told them,

'Let's make it interesting.' We were down, 20-4, against El Toro (in

the first round Thursday) and we got beat by 20 points against

Calabasas (Friday)."

For their reward, the Sailors get to host Mater Dei at 9 a.m.

today for 13th place.

"The good thing about summer is that you don't look at the

scoreboard very often," said Hirst, whose squad mounted a 32-15

advantage after two free throws by Jordan Schunk with 1:10 left on

the second-quarter clock.

Newport Harbor point guard Tony Yaghjian, who scored a team-high

22 points, helped bring the Sailors back in the fourth quarter, after

the Sea Kings outscored Newport in the third quarter, 17-13, and

opened the fourth with an 11-4 run to strike within 50-48 with 3:52

to play. Corona del Mar's 6-foot-7 center, Stefan Kaluz, scored up

close after a pass from Chase Pinesett and was fouled on the play,

sinking the ensuing free throw as the Sea Kings made it a two-point

game for the first time since the game's opening bucket.

Yaghjian, however, nailed a short jumper the next time down for

the Sailors, then after a stop, Dennis Heenan (17 points) netted a

three-pointer with 3:06 on the clock to stretch Newport Harbor's lead

to 55-48.

Under a minute remaining, Kaluz, who finished with game highs in

points (29), rebounds (15) and blocked shots (five), scored on a

putback, then blocked a shot on the other end, triggering a Corona

del Mar fastbreak and layup by Pinesett with 0:20 left to pull the

Sea Kings within three and the game's margin of victory.

Robert Koon added eight rebounds and four points for Newport

Harbor.

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