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Tough opener for Tars

BASKETBALL: Newport Harbor frustrated by press, which leads to lopsided Esperanza victory in a Sunset League opener.

January 04, 2008|By Matt Szabo

NEWPORT BEACH — On the same night as the Iowa caucuses, Newport Harbor High girls’ basketball coach Randy Larson polled his players following Thursday’s 70-21 loss to Esperanza.

The first-year coach said he asked his players if they thought they gave 110% in their Sunset League opener. The average vote, Larson said, was “about 55%.”

“That doesn’t work against too many teams, especially against Esperanza,” Larson said.

The Aztecs had their press working. It’s how they forced the Sailors into 28 turnovers. Ten of those came in the first quarter, which ended with Esperanza up, 23-5.

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Newport Harbor (5-11) was within six before the Aztecs ended the quarter on a 12-0 run. Esperanza (6-9) was in the midst of scoring 25 unanswered points, upping its lead to 36-5 before Sailors sophomore Lindsay Anderson converted a three-point play with 1:25 before halftime.

Many of the Esperanza baskets came as they forced turnovers near mid-court, which also led to several Newport Harbor fouls to stop the easy layups. The Sailors had 10 team fouls in the first quarter, and every starter had at least one.

“They go full-court press, and we could have done better,” Larson said. “We did OK in spots, but our biggest issue is that we didn’t run our offense. It was just all one-on-one, no picks, no screens. Against the really good teams, we play scared. Again, we’re young. It’s just a lack of varsity experience against really good teams.”

Anderson’s three-point play was part of a 6-2 Sailors run to end the half, as Katey Thompson scored the half’s final points on Corinne Schnieders’ assist with 10 seconds left. But it was nothing Newport Harbor could sustain.

Junior forward Lauren Spinazze scored a game-high 22 points for the Aztecs, and senior forward Allison Burns added 19.

“I thought we played hard for 32 minutes,” Esperanza Coach Matt Roberts said. “We didn’t want our offense to come from half-court. We wanted it to come from our press and transition game.”

Sunset League

Esperanza 70, Newport Harbor 21

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Esp – Spinazze 22, Burns 19, Hanson 11, Lampi 6, Love 4, Hughes 4, Kelley 2, Attaway 2.

3-pt. goals – Hanson 1, Spinazze 1, Lampi 1.

Fouled out – None.

Technicals – None.

NH – Anderson 6, Ka. Thompson 6, Jimenez 2, O’Tousa 2, Mead 2, Ke. Thompson 2, Schnieders 1.

3-pt. goals – None.

Fouled out – None.

Technicals – None.


MATT SZABO may be reached at (714) 966-4614 or by e-mail at matthew.szabo@latimes.com.

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