Senior Justin Strings posted a team-high 28 points to lead Mira Costa to a first-round win in the CIF Division 2AA playoffs. Photo by Ray Vidal
Mira Costa staved off a late rally to defeat visiting Lynwood 69-65 Friday in the first round of the CIF Division 2AA Boys Basketball Championships.
The ninth-seeded Mustangs jumped out to a 15-point lead in the first half before the Knights came back to take a 62-20 lead late in the game.
“They (Lynwood) were banking 3-pointers and I asked myself ‘What’s going on here?’” said Mira Costa head coach Jeff Amaral. “But we showed some resolve and won a very exciting game. Justin Strings, Dylan Kim and Jake Feder had big baskets and Chase Crandall was our cool guy under pressure.”
Strings, Mira Costa’s shooting star, finished the game with 28 points and five rebounds. Amaral was glad to see his team – and Strings – get back on track after losing its final two games in the regular season.
“Once you get out of league, things tend to open up,” Amaral said. “Sure, playoff teams have scouting reports but in the tough Bay League, everyone knows each other very well.”
Mira Costa’s Dylan Kim scored key baskets in the Mustang’s win at Lynwood. Photo by Ray Vidal
Feder scored 13 points; Chase Crandall added 12 points and six rebounds and Kim tallied 11 points in the win.
Mira Costa (19-8) will travel to No. 9 Newbury Park (20-17) for a 7 p.m. second-round game on Tuesday.
Both teams finished fourth in their respective leagues with Newbury Park coming out of the larger Marmonte League and each have a player averaging more than 18 points per game. The 6-foot-6 Strings could be in a shootout with the Panther’s 6-foot-5 senior Tyler Cartaino.
“Both teams are quality teams,” Amaral said. “They have good complimentary players around their shooter (Cartaino) and would probably be a top-two team in most other divisions.”
In Division 1A, Bay League runner-up and tenth-seeded Peninsula (14-12) had little trouble defeated visiting Burbank 69-43 and will travel to No. 7 Villa Park (18-10) on Tuesday. Fifth-seeded Lawndale also advanced with a 65-50 victory over Ventura. Lawndale (19-8) will travel to A.B. Miller (15-13) in the second round.
Pioneer League runner-up North Torrance (21-4) eliminated Grand Terrace 83-55 in Division 2A. The fifth-seeded Saxons advance to face No. 10 El Dorado (15-12). Torrance (13-14) dropped its first-round game to No. 12 Savanna 69-63.
After edging Gahr 78-77 in the first round in the Division 3AA playoffs, Palos Verdes (13-13) had its season come to an end with a 64-50 loss at No. 3 Brea Olinda. Leuzinger (10-18) dropped its first-round game at No. 2 Atascadero 66-55.
In Division 5AA, No. 5 Chadwick (18-7) was upset by No. 12 New Community Jewish 44-40.