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Girls' Basketball: Sea Kings advance

Corona del Mar plays strong on the road to take down Pacifica, 48-38, and moves on to quarterfinals.

February 22, 2014|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza

GARDEN GROVE — One after the other, the Corona del Mar High girls' basketball team lost its two tallest and most productive players to fouls.

Natalia Bruening and Krista Anderson didn't spend much time together on the court on Saturday. They both picked up their second fouls in the first quarter, then one each in the second and third quarters.

One more foul by Bruening, a 6-foot-3 center, and Anderson, a 6-2 forward, and their evening was over, and most likely their team's season. They didn't make it to the end of the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 3AA playoffs at Pacifica. Anderson fouled out with about 3 minutes left in the fourth quarter and Bruening checked out almost 2 minutes later.

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From the bench, Anderson, who made all of her eight shots, watched her teammates, the ones who usually don't grab the headlines, put away Pacifica. Bruening joined her, and without Bruening and Anderson, the sixth-seeded Sea Kings showed they had more than enough to beat No. 11 Pacifica, 48-38, and advance to the quarterfinals for the first time in Coach Mark Decker's eight seasons at the school.

The school's first quarterfinal appearance in 14 seasons will take place at CdM (20-8) on Wednesday against third-seeded San Juan Hills (22-3). San Juan Hills advanced by routing Covina Charter Oak, 73-39.

"They definitely made it more difficult on us," said a smiling Decker, referring to the referees' calls on Bruening and Anderson. "It just shows … there are some other really, really good players on our team. I'm really proud, because tonight Maria [King], Kelly [Tam], Keaton [Gaughan] and Kate [Thompson], they always kind of take a [backseat to Bruening and Anderson], and they stepped up big time."

All the players Decker named contributed to CdM avenging an earlier loss to Pacifica (16-12), an at-large entry from the Empire League. Before CdM opened up Pacific Coast League play, it met Pacifica in the championship game of the Ocean View-Los Amigos tournament on Dec. 14.

The smaller Mariners controlled the tempo back then in a 68-58 win. In the second meeting, the pace slowed down, even in their own gym, as CdM handled the Mariners' pressure much better in the final three quarters.

The teams went into halftime tied, 17-17, and they were even after the third quarter. Going into the final quarter, the teams were locked at 28-28.

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