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Boys' Basketball: Mustangs ring bell again

Costa Mesa keeps the bell after soundly beating rival Estancia and sweeping season series for the first time in six years.

January 30, 2013|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza
  • Members of the Costa Mesa High boys' basketball team celebrate by hoisting the bell trophy after defeating Estancia in a Battle for the Bell game on Wednesday.
Members of the Costa Mesa High boys' basketball… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

COSTA MESA — A year ago, when Kyle Hefner rang the bell, he says it felt bittersweet for Costa Mesa High to win the Battle for the Bell rivalry for the first time in five years.

Hefner and his boys' basketball teammates had claimed the series against Estancia and the rib dinner that comes with it. But they lost the game at the buzzer, costing them second place in the Orange Coast League.

This year's ribs, Hefner didn't want them to taste bitter at all.

He bit his tongue for much of the first half on Wednesday, unable to score in the first half. Not helping Hefner was that he had to sit in the second quarter because he picked up his second foul.

When the junior started the second half, his teammates fed him the ball before he planned to eat on someone else's dime. Hefner came out firing. He made his first three shots, knocking down a jumper and then converting two layups.

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He was making his dinner reservations by producing 18 points on eight-of-10 shooting in the second half and lifting the Mustangs to a 50-39 victory, their first sweep of Estancia in six years.

Before Hefner and the Mustangs left their court for the restaurant, they walked up to the trophy at half court. The feeling of ringing the bell felt and sounded much better this time to Hefner and guys like Coach Dan Krikorian, who were part of the program last season.

What was left to try out was the dinner they planned to eat 1 1/2 hours after getting past the Eagles for the second time this season.

"This year, hopefully the [ribs] will taste a little better," said Krikorian, an assistant last season, with a grin.

Winning brings out the best of any meal. Over their late dinner, the Mustangs had a lot to celebrate and talk about. One of those is that they're still in the race for second place in league, while Estancia isn't.

With three games left, the Mustangs, who are 4-3 in league, remain one game back of second-place Godinez.

The Mustangs' schedule down the stretch is easier compared to the one Grizzlies have. By Friday night, Costa Mesa can move into a second-place tie with a victory against Calvary Chapel and a Godinez loss to Laguna Beach.

No league teams have been able to play defending league champion Laguna Beach tough, except for the Mustangs. Last week, the Mustangs, at home, lost to the Breakers by one. They have bounced back since, beating Godinez and now Estancia.

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