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Mesa's season ends

Boys' Basketball

Mustangs hang with Pacific Hills early on, but top-seeded team pulls away for easy victory.

February 17, 2012|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza

COSTA MESA — With less than three minutes left in the third quarter, the Costa Mesa High coaching staff yelled at the scoreboard operator.

"Stop the clock!" Coach Bryan Rice shouted first and then his assistants repeated his same words.

The operator heard the coaches, but he couldn't stop the game clock until 12 seconds vanished.

The coaches might have had more success if they had yelled at their team to stop their opponent on Friday.

The Mustangs really stood no chance at home against Pacific Hills of West Hollywood in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 4A playoffs.

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The top-seeded Bruins rolled past Costa Mesa, 64-32, and into the quarterfinals.

Costa Mesa almost recorded as many turnovers as points.

"There's a reason they [were ranked in top 20 in the] state [by Cal-Hi Sports]," Rice said. "You look at us, [we're] probably No. 400 in the state, and everybody else in our division is in that kind of range.

"They got that No. 11 kid [Brandon Taylor, who is Division I] bound, [and] No. 4 [Namon Wright] for them, a sophomore kid, is [Division I] bound. We don't have a kid that's going to play Division I basketball."

Despite the discrepancy in talent, the Mustangs hung with Pacific Hills in the first quarter.

They trailed, 16-13, after eight minutes. The Mustangs made the most of their scoring chances, making five of seven field-goal attempts, including three of four from three-point range.

Some in the gym believed Costa Mesa might make it a contest, even pull off an upset and push its school record for wins in a season to 20.

But after the opening quarter, the turnovers began to pile up for Costa Mesa as fast as the athletic Bruins went up for layups.

The Mustangs (19-10) might have avoided Pacific Hills (20-8), which shared the Alpha League title, this early in the playoffs if they had placed second in the Orange Coast League. Costa Mesa finished third and found itself on the top part of the bracket with the Bruins.

Rice was able to lead Costa Mesa to its first playoff triumph in seven seasons on Wednesday. A second win at home in the postseason was unlikely once Pacific Hills began to pound the boards.

"We didn't box out well enough tonight to stay [in the game]," Rice said. "They got a lot of second-chance points. That's what ultimately extended their lead. They probably didn't shoot a very high percentage, but they got a lot of attempts."

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