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Sea Kings open PCL with ease

CdM coasts to win over Laguna Hills despite playing without starters Cheek and Mejia for most of the game.

January 08, 2010|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza

LAGUNA HILLS — The Corona del Mar High boys’ basketball team might have the best bench in the Pacific Coast League if Danny Cheek and Ramon Mejia continue to come off it.

Coach Ryan Schachter would rather start his top two players, than sit next to them for long stretches during the game.

That’s where the juniors found themselves during the first 11 minutes of the first half Friday night. Schachter didn’t start the guards after they were late to a practice heading into the league opener at Laguna Hills.

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With a makeshift lineup, the Sea Kings managed to stay in front of the Hawks. Cheek and Mejia made the most of their playing time in the fourth quarter.

The duo combined for 20 of its 27 points in the final quarter as CdM ran away with a 77-44 victory.

Schachter pulled Mejia and Cheek with the game out of reach. Mejia finished with 15 points, Cheek 12. They sat next to each other, smiling while watching the Sea Kings (12-3) make it six straight wins.

The situation for Cheek and Mejia isn’t so dandy. Schachter sent both a message by sitting them.

“From here on out, they have to earn their starting spot back,” Schachter said. “There’s no guarantee that they’re starting the next game, either.

“I don’t know why [they were late to practice]. I don’t think it matters why. At this point, I think the guys might be just getting comfortable. I don’t want them to be comfortable.”

Schachter expects the Sea Kings to contend for a league championship after coming up short last season. If that means they have to do it with Cheek and Mejia not starting, Schachter said he’s prepared.

Clayton Ragsdale has been a part of a CdM league crown. In his freshman season in 2007-08, he contributed to the program’s last one.

Ragsdale understands the commitment it takes to make a run at the title.

“I was a little disappointed because it’s really supposed to be a team,” Ragsdale said. “I think they got the point for sure.

“I think we’re capable of winning without them, but it’s going to be a lot easier with them.”

Ragsdale led the way against Laguna Hills (8-9) while Mejia and Cheek looked on for much of the first three quarters. The junior point guard finished with a game-high 16 points and seven assists.

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