Whenever Max Stone is open, he has the green light to shoot the basketball. It doesn't matter if he's missed his last six shots, or hasn't made one because Corona del Mar High relies on its guard to score.
If he doesn't produce, the Sea Kings are usually in trouble. For their sake, Stone is one of the top three-point shooters in Orange County, averaging around three per game.
But there have been times he has hesitated to take a wide-open look and opted to pass. This is when Coach Ryan Schachter gets on Stone's case.
"You got to keep shooting!" Schachter can be heard yelling from the bench during games.
If Stone doesn't listen, Schachter lets him know the consequences.
"You stop shooting," Schachter tells Stone, "you're coming out."
When the shots aren't falling for Stone, Schachter said the 6-foot-2 senior begins to fret about the misses. Stone hasn't worried much lately.
Stone has been on a tear since last week, when he led CdM with five three-pointers and 19 points in the Sea Kings' 64-54 win against Newport Harbor in the Battle of the Bay. Stone gained confidence after that performance and took his act to Las Vegas this week.
During the Las Vegas Prep Championship, Stone knocked down 19 three-pointers in the Sea Kings' first four games of the tournament. The Sea Kings won three of those contests, with Stone averaging 20 points per game.
"It's nice to get out of Orange County and experience playing some teams that are more athletic," Stone said. "The teams out here are bigger, faster and stronger.
"The games are all competitive, intense."
The same can be said about last week's Battle of the Bay at CdM.
The annual rivalry game had been on a two-year hiatus. Stone and his teammates had never played in the game on the varsity level, so they were excited about facing Newport Harbor.
Maybe the Sea Kings came out too eager because the Sailors jumped out to a 13-point lead early in the second quarter. Stone and CdM were able to cut the deficit to eight before halftime.
During the break, Stone said Schachter addressed the Sea Kings, saying they needed to settle down. All along, Stone believed the better team was CdM.
Stone and the Sea Kings proved it in the second half. They opened the third quarter on a 17-2 run, thanks to Stone knocking down two threes.
It was Stone's last three-pointer that pushed CdM ahead for good 2 1/2 minutes into the fourth quarter. He broke a 46-46 tie as the Sea Kings outscored Newport Harbor, 18-8, the rest of the way.
"It's always nice [to beat the Sailors]," Schachter said after CdM won its fifth straight game against Newport Harbor.
"I was really impressed with Harbor."
The Sailors were the second Sunset League team CdM defeated during a four-day period last week. The first was Los Alamitos, which CdM edged, 53-51.