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Boys' Basketball: Mesa's big season ends

Mustangs battle back against No. 8-seeded Harvard Westlake, but fall in playoff opener Wednesday at home.

February 20, 2014|By Matt Szabo
(KEVIN CHANG / Daily…)

Members of the Costa Mesa High boys' basketball team tied a program record this year with 19 wins.

They also won the Battle of the Bell series against cross-town rival Estancia for the third straight year.

What they weren't able to do prior to Wednesday night's CIF Southern Section Division 4AA first-round playoff game, though, was grow several inches each.

Visiting Harvard-Westlake had a size advantage, and the No. 8-seeded Wolverines exploited it on their way to a 64-48 victory that ended Costa Mesa's season.

Senior small forward Derick Newton, who stands 6-foot-5, was guarded admirably by Costa Mesa senior Oronde Crenshaw, who is four inches shorter, for most of the night. Newton still scored a team-high 16 points. But Harvard-Westlake also was able to bring in 6-8 sophomore center Nick Medavoy, who had eight points and nine rebounds in the second half as the visitors pulled away.

"The thing we knew coming in was that Oronde had to be extremely tough tonight," first-year Costa Mesa Coach Mike Molina said. "We have no one over 6-3, 6-4 that moves that well, so we definitely had to make Oronde be a defensive stopper. He's a tough kid, man. He's relentless. He's one of those kids who you tell him to do something, he'll bend over backward for you, and he did that tonight. He did a great job on [Newton], making him battle, and just kind of making him uncomfortable throughout the whole game."

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The Wolverines (12-15) are not only big, but their record is misleading. They played a much more difficult schedule than Costa Mesa (19-9). They finished tied for fifth in the Mission League, but the top two teams from that league — Loyola and Chaminade — are seeded third and ninth respectively in the CIF Southern Section open division. The third place team, Alemany, is the No. 2-seeded team in Division 1A, and the fourth-place team, Crespi, is the No. 4 seed in Division 4AA.

"They got in [the Division 4AA playoffs] with an at-large bid, and they're ranked eighth," Molina said. "That shows how tough that league is, and how much they work, how much preparation they do. That's a historic program over there. We're never going to be as big [as they are]. We're never going to get the biggest guys with the most talent, because we're surrounded by teams like Mater Dei and Newport Harbor, CdM, Edison. We've kind of got to work with what we've got, and I thought we did a great job, effort-wise, in the second quarter."

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