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Boys' Basketball: A 'Beauti-Fults' finish

Kevin Fults scores game-winner on inbound play with five seconds left to lead CdM to share of PCL championship.

February 13, 2014|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza
  • Corona del Mar's Kevin Fults shoots the winning basket on an in-bound pass with seconds left on the clock during a Pacific Coast League against Northwood Thursday.
Corona del Mar's Kevin Fults shoots the winning… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

IRVINE — With the Pacific Coast League title on the line, the Corona del Mar High boys' basketball team had just 6.5 seconds to work with. Coach Ryan Schachter and his top assistant, Jason Simco, looked at each other, and Simco called one last play.

The Sea Kings trailed by one at defending league champion Northwood on Thursday. They needed to make one more shot to close out league on top. The coaches didn't call a timeout before the inbound near midcourt, figuring it might tip off Northwood Coach Tim O'Brien.

The play CdM went with is the one O'Brien is legendary for running, the backdoor lob. Twenty-four years ago, Simco, as a 7-year-old, used to collect balls for O'Brien when O'Brien coached at Estancia.

The former ball boy brought the backdoor lob to CdM seven seasons ago, when he joined Schachter's staff. The play finally made a difference for CdM.

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Simco and Schachter had never seen their team execute the backdoor lob the way it did on Thursday, with so much at stake, in such dramatic fashion.

Credit goes to three players, Tyler Lopp, Blake Flamson and Kevin Fults. Those three made it possible for the Sea Kings to edge Northwood, 43-42, and finish first in league for the first time in three seasons.

Lopp is the one who set the killer back screen to free Fults up from near the three-point line. Flamson inbounded the ball over a 6-foot-6 defender, throwing a precise pass to Fults in midair. Near the right block, Fults softly converted a layup with five seconds left.

The league finale wasn't over. Fults made one more play. He quickly came away with a steal after Northwood inbounded the ball, ensuring CdM (19-6, 8-2 in league) shared the league title with Woodbridge (19-8, 8-2).

The Sea Kings, ranked No. 3 in the CIF Southern Section Division 3AA poll, hold the head-to-head edge against Woodbridge, having swept the two-game series. They most likely will earn one of the top four seeds in the CIF Southern Section Division 3AA playoffs on Sunday, when the section releases the postseason pairings.

"It's got to be one of the best game-winners we've had," said Schachter, who has won five league titles during his eight seasons in charge of CdM. "To win the game on a lob play that we practice, you're in desperation mode, that's awesome."

Thirteen seconds before Fults' game-winner, Zach Pierce seemed to put the dagger in CdM. The senior hit a three-pointer to put No. 10 Northwood ahead, 42-41.

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