COSTA MESA – Sunny Hills had a tough time matching Corona's intensity in the first half of the second semifinal game at the Estancia Coast Classic boys basketball tournament on Friday night.
Luckily for the Lancers, there was a second half still to play.
Sunny Hills (13-3, 0-1) erased a 9-point half time deficit, and Max Thurman scored 15 of his team-high 21 points in the second half to help hand Corona (12-1) its first loss, 65-60, at Estancia High. Thurman also grabbed seven rebounds.
The victory placed Sunny Hills into today's final against Clovis West of Fresno at 7 p.m.
Thurman, who struggled to find his shot early, kept his poise throughout and helped fuel a 13-3 Sunny Hills run in the fourth quarter that broke a tie game giving the Lancers a 58-48 lead. Thurman hit two corner 3-pointers and followed up one of his own missed shots from behind the 3-point arch with a two-hand put back during the run.
"In the second half he (Thurman) got in the seams, and he made some big shots for us," Sunny Hills coach John Wooldridge said. "He's done that all year for us, he's done a really good job for us."
Sunny Hills Elijah Kim, who scored 15 points, also knocked down a huge 3-pointer during the run.
Corona's Ethan Alvano, who had a game-high 24 points, kept his team close late in the fourth with his sharp shooting from 3-point land, but Sunny Hills hit its free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.
Although the Lancers controlled the pace during the second half, Wooldridge said that his team would need to limit its turnovers and be sharper on defense in Saturday's tournament final.
Sunny Hills Ryan Tan added 14 points and kept his team within striking range during the first half.
Also in the Estancia Coast Classic:
Clovis West 62, Laguna Beach 57: Cole Kesler scored 15 points for the Breakers in a losing effort during a semifinal game. Alec Wulff and Jake Dalke added 14 and 13 points, respectively.