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Boys' Basketball: T-wolves clog up PCL race

Northwood uses inside game to knock off CdM and create three-way tie for first with five league games left to play.

January 24, 2014|By Barry Faulkner

It was host Corona del Mar High that entered Friday's crucial Pacific Coast League boys' basketball clash with Northwood alone in first place. But it was the Timberwolves' ability to wind up alone near the rim that led to the visitors' 47-38 victory that leaves three teams sharing space atop the league standings halfway through the 10-game campaign..

Of Northwood's 21 field goals, only two came outside of six feet and the majority of them were mere layins with little or no defensive presence to deal with. The win helped the visitors, ranked No. 15 in CIF Southern Section Division 3AA, improve to 13-8, 4-1 in league.

"We just gave up uncontested layups," said CdM Coach Ryan Schachter, whose squad (15-5, 4-1 and ranked No. 4 in Division 3AA) led, 34-29, though three quarters. "[The Timberwolves] had guys wide open, standing alone at the rim. That wasn't our game plan, it was just communication breakdowns. And in the fourth quarter, defensively, we just fell apart. We had guys running in the wrong place, guys thinking the needed to be somewhere that they didn't. That just gave [the visitors] confidence.

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A much smaller CdM unit took a somewhat different approach offensively, hoisting 18 three-point attempts and hitting only four. The Sea Kings, who overcame a 4-2 deficit to hold the lead for the rest of the first three quarters, were just one for 12 from the field in the final eight minutes, including zero for eight from threedom. The shooting drought helped the Timberwolves cruise past them for the win that created a first-place tie with CdM, Northwood and Woodbridge.

"It's a five-game race now," said Northwood Coach Tim O'Brien, who acknowledged that his game plan was to pound the ball inside on offense, but he had even more praise for his team's defense.

"We played good defense," O'Brien said. "Any time you hold a high school team under 40 points, which is always our goal every game, but a hard one to hit, you have a good chance to win. So, giving up only 21 in the first half [after which Northwood trailed by seven], we thought we were OK on the defensive end.

"Then, once we got it going on offense, it made it a little bit easier," said O'Brien, the one-time coach at Estancia High and Orange Coast College. "We just made the plays at the end."

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