Costa Mesa runs past Calvary

Mustangs remain hot, as they easily win at Eagles' gym and stay atop Orange Coast League tied with cross-town rival Estancia.

January 18, 2011|By Matt Szabo,
(Kent Treptow / Daily…)

SANTA ANA — Just three weeks ago, the Costa Mesa High girls' basketball team was in the midst of an eight-game losing streak.

Coach Nichole Maddox said it became tough mentally for the Mustangs.

But nowadays, Mesa is thinking more pleasant thoughts. First place in the Orange Coast League is more than just a pipe dream after the Mustangs breezed past Calvary Chapel, 52-26, on Tuesday night.

Costa Mesa is now 8-11, but 3-0 in league, tied for first with cross-town rival Estancia.

"We lost the mind game," senior forward Annie Sturm said of the Mustangs' 1-8 start. "But now that league's started, we've come out a lot more focused. We're starting to win the head game, which has completely changed the way we're playing. We're not getting down on ourselves as much. We're starting to focus a lot more. Focus and defense, that's what we're about this year."

The Mustangs had both in abundance against overmatched Calvary Chapel (1-13, 0-3). They had 34 steals, led by senior forward Itzel Flores with seven and sophomore guard Marilyn Armstrong with six.


They also hit the boards. Sturm had 10 points and 13 rebounds and Flores also grabbed 10 rebounds.

Defense is how the Mustangs will win games. Maddox could find little to complain about after her team outscored Calvary Chapel, 22-6, in the first quarter.

"We have to live and die by our defense," Maddox said. "It's something that if we don't do it very well, then we know the way the game is going to go. If we play good defense, then we usually win, so defense is our key every game."

Sophomore guard Molly Settles, who had a game-high 11 points, came off the bench to score seven consecutive points in the opening quarter. Her first three-pointer of the season gave Mesa an 18-5 lead.

Three times in the first three quarters, Calvary Chapel turned the ball over because the Eagles couldn't get it inbounds within five seconds. The Mustangs kept pushing their press defense, getting their lead to 30 points after junior Noor Salameh hit a buzzer-beating jumper to end the third quarter.

Mesa took its biggest lead, at 52-19, when Settles canned a jumper for the Mustangs' final points of the game.

Justine Smith scored 11 points for Calvary Chapel, which has lost 10 of 11 league games over the past two years. Sarah Strachan added seven points and eight rebounds.

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