CORONA DEL MAR — In the recent past, the Corona del Mar High girls' basketball team has won games with gritty play.
In the immediate future, the Sea Kings will be able to win some games with their size.
Two 6-foot-1 freshman post players, Natalia Bruening and Krista Anderson, have entered the program.
They introduced themselves to Garden Grove in the first round of the CdM Tip-Off Classic on Monday night.
Bruening and Anderson combined to score more than the visiting Argonauts, as CdM won going away, 49-22, in the season opener for both schools.
"It's a change for us," acknowledged CdM Coach Mark Decker, whose team plays either Estancia or Mission Viejo in a tournament quarterfinal at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at CdM. "We're usually the undersized team. They're both really good, and it's just the beginning. They can both play … I think we have the ability to dominate on offense and defense. I'm looking forward to some good times with them."
Bruening had 16 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double, adding three blocked shots. Anderson added eight points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots.
Bruening said she and Anderson started playing on teams together through NJB. They started playing hoops in the first and third grade, respectively.
"It's nice being the tallest person in the program," Bruening said. "It's pretty cool. She and I, we've been playing together for a really long time, so it's nice to be playing together on the varsity level now."
Bruening had 10 of her points in the first half as CdM built a 25-8 halftime advantage. But the Sea Kings, who graduated their whole starting five including Newport-Mesa Player of the Year Karlèh Wilson, had others step up.
Junior guard Katie Scott scored all five of her points in the first quarter to help CdM get going. Junior guard Kate Thompson added four points and led all players with four steals. Keaton Gaughan added four points, six rebounds and three steals.
And yet another junior guard, Chanel Wosoughkia, had a basket and a game-high 11 rebounds off the bench.
"With the tall posts coming in, it helps out the guards a lot," Wosoughkia said. "Throwing it in to them is much easier than last year, when everyone was not as tall. I think as a team, we're playing really well, especially for the first game."
Sophomore forward Maria King added six points and freshman guard Kelly Tam added four for CdM, which increased its lead throughout the second half.
"We're really young," Decker said. "To me, that just means we're going to get better and better as the season goes on."
Senior post player Toafa Mamea scored seven points to lead Garden Grove.
CdM now hopes to play Estancia on Wednesday. The teams have developed a rivalry in recent years.
"Definitely looking forward to that game," Wosoughkia said. "Estancia is up there."