CORONA DEL MAR — You bet Coach Ryan Schachter was familiar with Corona del Mar High's opponent on Tuesday. He coached against the school when he broke into the coaching business 15 years ago.
There was no way he forgot about Santa Barbara San Marcos. His wife, Crystal, went to the school.
"She was going to come in red and blue," said Schachter, referring to San Marcos' school colors. "She's like, 'I'm not rooting for you.' I don't mind. I told her she'd go home a loser."
Crystal never made it to CdM's gym. Schachter said she stayed home with their two kids, who are dealing with the stomach flu.
If she had attended the game, she wouldn't have stomached the result. Her husband's team ran circles around her alma mater.
The third-seeded Sea Kings routed San Marcos, 83-62, in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 3AA playoffs.
The game turned out to be the third straight blowout for the Sea Kings (21-9) in the postseason. They have been dismantling teams by an average of 29 points per game.
The Sea Kings are playing their best basketball at the right time of the season. The quarterfinals had not been to kind to CdM the past three seasons, losing each time in this round.
The last time CdM won in the quarterfinals was in Schachter's first season, six years ago. That same season, the Sea Kings went on to claim a section title, the school's fifth.
Blake Grable believes CdM is on its way to another section finals appearance. He helped the school get one step closer, finishing with 21 points against San Marcos.
The Sea Kings will be at home in the semifinals on Friday. They will have to get through second-seeded La Verne Damien (23-6) to reach the championship game.
"It's been our goal since we lost that quarterfinal game last year at Santa Margarita to get past the quarters," Grable said. "We have another game at home. We play a lot better at home. I think we can beat Damien and get to the finals."
Schachter said he has watched about two minutes of film on Damien, which shared second place in the Sierra League. He saw the film right before CdM's game against San Marcos, saying he wanted to get "some stuff ready in preparation for the next round."
He must have known CdM would get past San Marcos (19-9), the second-place team from the Channel League. The postseason trip to Orange County was San Marcos' second in five days.
Schachter has made the 2 1/2-hour trip from Santa Barbara to Orange County plenty of times, from his college days at UC Santa Barbara and assistant coaching days at Santa Barbara High, coming home to visit family.
"That's a long drive back," Schachter said with a smile.
Three years ago, CdM drove to San Marcos for a second-round game. The Sea Kings won and it marked the start of three straight quarterfinal appearances for them, all ending the same, close losses.
The quarterfinal setbacks, by an average of 6.6 points per game, were as tough as the opponents CdM played, Santa Margarita, La Verne Lutheran and Cerritos Gahr.
San Marcos wasn't going to get in the Sea Kings' path this season.
"We put it on the board, 'What are we going to do this year?'" said Schachter, whose team has reached the quarterfinals in six of his seven seasons.