Short-handed Sunny Hills falls in Estancia Coast Classic final


COSTA MESA – Going into Saturday night’s championship game of the Estancia Coast Classic against Clovis West of Fresno, Sunny Hills coach John Wooldridge knew he would be minus starting point guard Elijah Kim, who was out because of a pre-scheduled medical procedure.

He also was missing starting center John Berkley, out for a second consecutive game with a knee injury. 

What Wooldridge didn’t know was that leading scorer Max Thurman would be limited for much of the game after rolling his ankle midway through the second quarter.

Sunny Hills (13-4) was competitive early and held a 6-point lead at the time of Thurman’s injury, only to see Clovis West go on an 18-11 run to close out the first half, then turn up the defensive pressure in the second half to earn an 83-63 victory at Estancia High.

“We just didn’t play real sharp, but I thought the kids battled and played hard. We just didn’t have enough in the tank tonight,” Wooldridge said.

Down seven points early in the third, Sunny Hills looked as if it was going to mount a comeback when Shae Patel knocked down a 3-pointer to cut the lead to, 41-37.

That was as close as the Lancers would get.  

Clovis West (9-3) would use an 11-0 run early in the fourth to take a 72-53 lead and put the game away.

Golden Eagles guard Michael Orlich had a game-high 22 points and Khaneal Mason, who was named the tournament’s most valuable player, added 15 to lead Clovis West, which forced the Lancers into 20 turnovers.

Ryan Tan led Sunny Hills with 16 points, while Patel and David Shaw dropped in 13 and 10 points, respectively. Thurman struggled to get his shot going after the injury and managed only 8 points.

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