The Class of 2007 survived an overtime thriller and came out on top as champions of the 26th annual Jack Errion Corona del Mar High School Alumni Basketball Tournament at the Sea Kings' gym n Saturday.
Winners of a CIF Southern Section title their senior year, members of the '07 team were former Sea King standouts Austin Evett and John Joyce, along with Adam Smith and Keegan Jakosky, as well as 2011 graduate Clay Ragsdale.
Eight teams competed in this year's competition, battling in either the Jack Errion or Paul Orris conferences (named in honor of the two esteemed former boys' basketball coaches at the school).
The Errion Conference featured a team consisting of a hodgepodge team of players from the 1980s, the classes of 1998 and 1999, and a mixed team of players from the classes of 2000 and 2001.
The Orris Conference featured the reigning champions from the mixed classes of 2004 and 2005, along with the classes of 2007, 2008 and 2012.
In the morning round-robin action, the '80s and 2004-05 teams grabbed the top seeds. Both advanced easily in the quarterfinals. In the other quarterfinal matchups, the '07 team won a tight game against the 2000-01 team, while the '08 team squeezed by the '99 team.
The semifinal matchups were even tighter, each featuring some last-second drama. A bevy of spot-on three-point shooting kept the '80s team in the game against the '07 team. With three seconds left and the score tied, the '80s team ran a beautiful inbound play that resulted in an open look, only for the layup to agonizingly roll off the rim. In the overtime period, the class of 2007 was too much and eventually prevailed..
The other semifinal saw a back-and-forth matchup between the '08 and 2004-05 teams.
The 2004-05 team ran out to a big first-half lead, but the '08 team slowly climbed back into the game. Clutch shooting on both sides kept the game tight through regulation. In overtime, the '04-05 team pushed into a small lead. Down one on its final possession, the '08 team worked the ball around for a great look at a go-ahead three-pointer that missed, as did the follow-up put-back from point-blank range, handing the '04-05 team the victory.
While the semifinal drama was hard to top, the championship game did its best to match the precedent that had been set. The '07 team built a small lead at halftime, but the second half saw the '04-05 team eventually pull even. The teams went back and forth, and entered the final seconds tied.
The '04-05 team had a couple of looks at game-winning shots, but failed to connect, sending both teams to their second straight overtime matchup.
In the overtime period, the '07 team pulled away thanks to a couple of clutch baskets from Ragsdale and ended up winning, 54-51, claiming its first alumni tournament championship.
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