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High Schools: CdM gets test in San Diego

December 20, 2010|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza, david.carrillo@latimes.com
  • Newport Harbor High's Max Dennis, right, throws Corona del Mar's Jesus Diaz during the Battle of the Bay on Thursday.
Newport Harbor High's Max Dennis, right, throws… (KENT TREPTOW, Daily…)

Two days after Christmas, the Corona del Mar High boys' basketball team is off to San Diego. More is in store for CdM than some sightseeing down south.

The Sea Kings are competing at The Holiday Classic, the prestigious tournament that is in its 21st year at Torrey Pines High. The four-day event features some of the top programs in the ESPN RISE national rankings: No. 11 Long Beach Poly; No. 21 Taft of Woodland Hills; No. 46 Lincoln of San Diego; and No. 48 Bishop O'Dowd of Oakland.

CdM might get a shot at one of these elite teams if it can win the play-in game on Dec. 27. Getting to the national division bracket will not be easy as the Sea Kings (6-2) face Compton (6-3), the CIF Southern Section Division II-AA runner-up last season.

The game against Compton is set at 11:05 a.m., but Coach Ryan Schachter is not looking too far ahead.

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The Sea Kings are at the North-South Challenge on Wednesday at El Toro High, where they play Tesoro (8-2). One good thing, Schachter said, about the showcase game against the No. 5-ranked team in the CIF Southern Section Division I-A preseason poll, is that it starts at 11 a.m.

"After that game, they're done," said Schachter, who is giving his players time off from basketball during the holiday season. "I won't see them again for a few days."

When the Sea Kings, led by Northern Arizona-bound senior Danny Cheek, return, they had better be ready for an up-tempo game against the Tarbabes.

One team Compton, ranked No. 1 in Division II-AA, has faced so far is Price of Los Angeles. Price is a favorite to win the CIF Southern Section Division III-AA title. The Sea Kings moved up to the division this season, much to the dismay of Schachter.

The contest against Compton will show Schachter where his Sea Kings are in relation to Price, which beat the Tarbabes, 66-57, in a nonleague game last week.

"In my opinion, they're the best team in the state," Schachter said of the Knights, last season's Division IV-AA champions. "Our division, just like last year [in Division III-A], is the toughest division, beside Division I-AA.

"We have the talent to make a run [at a section title] like we did last year, [playing a] close game in the quarters [against Gahr of Cerritos]. If the playoffs started today, no we wouldn't [be able to], but the great thing is [the playoffs] don't start for another month and a half."

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