Corona del Mar's Blake Grable tries to put up a shot against Northwood's Zach Pierce during the second half of their game.

Northwood survives late scare from Corona del Mar


A lot can happen in 2.8 seconds.

In that time frame, Corona del Mar was able to inbounds the ball from its own baseline to the frontcourt, put up a 3-point shot that missed, get the rebound, and put up a short shot that also missed.

Northwood was able to escape the Sea Kings' gym Tuesday with a 55-53 victory in a Pacific Coast League game.

The Timberwolves are the only league team without a league loss. They are 3-0 and in first place, one game ahead of Corona del Mar and Woodbridge, which are 2-1.

Northwood (14-5 overall) had a 53-43 lead with 3:46 remaining. Corona del Mar senior guard Max Stone made a 3-pointer and Blake Grable made one and scored on a spin-move in the lane and, with five seconds left, Grable scored off of an offensive rebound and the Timberwolves lead was 55-53. With fouls to give, Corona del Mar (12-8) quickly fouled Northwood players after every inbounds pass until its seventh team foul sent Northwood's Zach Pierce to the line with three seconds to go.

Pierce missed the free throw, Corona del Mar's Drew Olson got the rebound, and the Sea Kings called time out with 2.8 seconds on the clock.

Corona del Mar's Tyler Duncan gunned the inbounds pass from the Sea Kings baseline to the frontcourt, the ball got to Bo St. Geme, who missed the 3-point try, and Grable got the rebound but his shot bounced around and trickled off of the hoop.

Northwood veteran coach Tim O'Brien thought it could turn out to be another negative night for one of his teams at Corona del Mar, where he has coached some frustrating games with the Timberwolves and back when he coached at Estancia and then Tustin.

"This is a place where I go, 'Good gosh, what's going to happen next?'" O'Brien said.

Enough good things happened for Northwood to win.

Senior guard Kevin Norman, the school's starting quarterback this past fall, scored on several breakaway layups, including three times in the third quarter and one in the fourth, to score 16 points.

"When he starts running like that, that's when we win," said Pierce, a 6-foot-4 junior who scored 16 points with six rebounds for Northwood.

Senior guard Stone scored 21 points with four 3-pointers for Corona del Mar. Grable scored 16.

Northwood, ranked No. 5 in CIF-Southern Section Division 3A, plays a league game at Beckman on Friday. Corona del Mar, No. 5 in 3AA, plays at University in a league game Friday.

In the Empire League:

No. 6 Tustin 60, Western 39: Nick Hornsby scored 20 points and Deondre Bryant added 16 for the host Tillers (18-2, 5-0).

In the Trinity League:

St. John Bosco of Bellflower 64, Santa Margarita 58: The visiting Eagles (12-8, 0-5) got 14 points apiece from Joe Furstinger and Tyler Strauss in their loss to the Braves (12-3, 4-1), who are No. 11 in the state rankings.

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