IRVINE — The Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar girls' basketball teams are not scheduled to square off in the Battle of the Bay until Jan. 3.
Exactly a month before that game, they met Saturday night in the championship game of the CdM Tip-off Tournament.
Newport Harbor Coach Justin Long said once a year is enough for the Back Bay rivals to play each other. It was easy for Long to say after his squad was the stronger one Saturday, taking the title by winning, 43-34, at Northwood High.
"I'd prefer to walk away and see them next year," Long said, knowing it won't be that easy.
But his team made it look easy in the first half. The Sailors (4-0) exploited their obvious size advantage in the post with 6-foot-2 junior Kasey Thompson and 6-1 senior captain Alex Morton. The Sea Kings (3-1) had to double team quick, not really able to guard straight-up despite the valiant efforts of 5-6 Daniela Gallardo and 5-8 Karleh Wilson.