All game long, the Beckman High boys' basketball team more than hung around at Corona del Mar. The Patriots just didn't give themselves their best shot to stick around longer on Tuesday night.
Down three points with 17.6 seconds left, Beckman opted to drive to the basket. With the clock winding down, the play near the baseline wasn't by design. Beckman Coach Brady Richards wanted to run a three-point play, to tie the game and send it into overtime.
What Richards got was an ill-advised shot and Beckman missed its shot to move into a first-place tie with CdM in the Pacific Coast League. The Sea Kings held on for a 53-50 win and stayed undefeated in league.
"I thought they were [going to upset us]," said Coach Ryan Schachter, whose Sea Kings (15-4, 4-0 in league) are ranked No. 4 in the CIF Southern Section Division 3AA poll.
"We didn't want to give up a three. We were going to foul, but then the guy drove. I don't know why he drove."
Schachter is glad Beckman guard Shane Taleisnik attacked the basket, instead of kicking the ball out for a three. The Sea Kings survived their third straight league contest. Last week, they edged Woodbridge by one and University by five.
The first part of league for CdM wraps up at home Friday against defending league champion Northwood (12-8, 3-1), the only team to defeat the Sea Kings in league last season.
"We have some work to do," said Schachter, if his team has any chance of staying perfect in league and winning its seventh overall game in a row.
The Sea Kings' winning streak appeared in jeopardy as they struggled against the Patriots' 2-3 zone defense. Schachter said no one on his team wanted to take a shot and it hurt the offense.
Corona del Mar fell behind by six points 1 1/2 minutes into the fourth quarter. Kainoa Weissberger, who led Beckman with 13 points, banked in a shot in the paint.
The six-point deficit was the second one the Sea Kings faced in the second half. The first time, in the third quarter, they managed to come back and go into the final quarter even at 41-41.
The Sea Kings answered Beckman (10-10, 2-2) again. They went on a 7-0 run and took the lead at 49-48 on Bo St. Geme's third three-pointer with 2 minutes left to play. He barely beat the 35-second shot clock.
St. Geme hit two big shots during the spurt and finished with 19 points. He then tried to keep Beckman scoreless for a fifth straight minute, but he lost the ball after grabbing a defensive rebound. Michael Yee took it away, giving him 12 points and putting the Patriots back ahead, 50-49, with 1:34 to go.
Tyler Lopp gave CdM a one-point lead again. With 61 seconds left, he made a floater in the lane.
The Sea Kings' defense hunkered down in the final minute. Blake Flamson, who had 11 points, deflected a pass out of bounds. If not for Flamson's quick hands, a Beckman player in the corner had a wide-open three-point look.
Instead, the Patriots only had three seconds to work with before the shot clock expired. They settled for a long Charles Wright jump shot and he missed. Lopp got the rebound.
After three consecutive Beckman fouls, the Patriots sent St. Geme to the free-throw line for a one-and-one situation. St. Geme knocked down both free throws and CdM took a three-point lead with 17.6 seconds remaining.
In those last seconds, the Patriots didn't get the shot they looked for at the end.
"We were looking for a three to tie it up," said Richards, whose Patriots went three of nine from behind the arc. "We were trying to run a play with a couple of different screens and it just didn't develop. Our spacing was bad."