By David Carrillo Peñaloza
11:07 PM PST, December 5, 2012
The boys' basketball team might be the next Corona del Mar High program to be crowned CIF Southern Section champion in Anaheim.
The basketball team tipped off its season a couple of days before the football team ended its season as the Southern Division champion at Angel Stadium on Saturday.
Depth is always crucial to a team's success in the playoffs. The football team boasted plenty of talented players.
The basketball team appears to be in the same situation. Coach Ryan Schachter said his Sea Kings are one of his deepest basketball teams during his seven years at the school.
"We could play 10 guys a lot of games, and without reservation," said Schachter, who is counting on senior guards Max Stone and Blake Grable, junior center Kevin Manchester, senior forward Ryan Griffin, sophomore guard Bo St. Geme, senior forward Drew Olson, junior point guard Jeff Johnston and junior guard Charlie Coffman to contribute.
This week local hoop fans get to see CdM a lot at home, much earlier than in previous years.
The Sea Kings don't usually play many home games early on. They compete in tournaments to build character, to bond, to face quality opponents, and to learn how to win on the road.
With La Quinta High no longer running its tournaments around this time of the year, Schachter decided to launch one at CdM. He's calling it the "Beach Bash" and the eight-team tournament opens Tuesday.
"I'm trying to do a first-class tournament," Schachter said.
The five-day tournament features seven quality teams from the Southern Section and Vista, a CIF San Diego Section Division 1 finalist last year.
The field also includes CdM, a CIF Southern Section Division 3A quarterfinalist last year, Santa Margarita, a Division 3A semifinalist last year, Tustin, a Division 3AAA quarterfinalist last year, Edison, which reached the Division 1A second round last year, and Temecula Rancho Christian, which reached the Division 6 second round last year.
The format has two four-team pools. The winner of each pool plays for the title on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
The Sea Kings open with Long Beach Wilson on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. On Wednesday, they go up against Edison at 7:30 p.m., and on Friday, they face Tustin at 7:30 p.m.
"We're excited about the tournament and the season," said Schachter, adding that his team will be without Johnston early on because he is dealing with a bad back. "Jeff might have back surgery. Our goal is to have him ready for [Pacific Coast League play]. We'll need him by then."
League comes before the playoffs. The goal for CdM is to contend for a league title and then make a deep run in the postseason.
The section finals are at the Anaheim Convention Center. The Sea Kings move to Division 3AA, and Schachter said there isn't a clear favorite to win the playoff division.
"We've got a chance," said Schachter, whose program has made three straight quarterfinal appearances.
Before the boys' basketball season, Newport Harbor traveled to Costa Mesa for a scrimmage. Both teams have young head coaches, Costa Mesa's Dan Krikorian and Newport Harbor's Bob Torribio, who are now in charge of their alma maters.
While this is Krikorian's first year as a head coach, Torribio has held the interim tag a couple of times in recent years whenever Larry Hirst decided to leave, only to come back.
Hirst is gone and the job now belongs to Torribio.
Torribio said he was excited about his team, especially its size with 7-foot senior Kevin Rakestraw, and about one particular game on the schedule.
The Sailors renewed their Battle of the Bay rivalry game with CdM. The two Back Bay schools didn't play the game the past two seasons because of scheduling conflicts.
This year's Battle of the Bay date is at CdM on Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m. Torribio will try to lead the Sailors past the Sea Kings for the first time since the 2005-06 season.
The Sunset League-Pacific Coast League Challenge in boys' basketball is set for Dec. 18-19.
CdM, the Pacific Coast League runner-up last season, plays Sunset League defending champion Los Alamitos at Huntington Beach High on Dec. 18 at 6 p.m.
Newport Harbor, which finished fifth in the Sunset League last season, travels to Irvine, last season's last-place team from the Pacific Coast League, for a game on Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m.
The 28th annual Estancia Coast Classic boys' basketball tournament runs from Dec. 26-29.
Beside Estancia, the 12-team tournament has two Newport-Mesa schools, Newport Harbor and CdM's junior varsity team, participating. That's right, CdM's JV team.
CdM's JV team is in the same pool as Foothill, one of the top programs in Orange County. Last year, Foothill reached the CIF Southern Section Division 1-AA quarterfinals, where it lost to eventual champion Mater Dei, 72-60.