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Tritons Topple Dolphins Hoops in South Coast Finale
With the outright South Coast League title on the line and a chance at making school history, the San Clemente boys basketball team caught fire late.
Trailing rival Dana Hills by five points at the midway point of the two team’s Feb. 11 matchup, San Clemente flipped the switch and routed the Dolphins over the final 16 minutes of play to secure a 59-46 victory.
San Clemente (20-6, 7-1 league) surged to its second consecutive outright league title and third league championship in four years behind an explosive 12-2 run in the third quarter. San Clemente forced six straight Dolphin turnovers to open the second half and cashed in on their opponent’s miscues.
The Tritons kept the pressure on in the fourth by knocking down dagger 3-point shots that stretched their lead. San Clemente outscored the Dolphins 34-16 over the final two quarters of play.
It was the 20th victory of the season for San Clemente, a mark that ties the school record.
San Clemente took its first lead of the second half when senior guard Gage Shelmidine stole the ball at midcourt and knocked down a jump shot to give the Tritons a 33-32 lead it would not let go of.
The Tritons lead grew to as many as 18 in the fourth quarter.
Senior forward Cole Fotheringham, who has been a member on three league championship squads, made his presence felt in the fourth quarter. Fotheringham scored eight of his 12 points in the fourth and pulled in five of his game-high 10 rebounds.
The Tritons’ prowess on the glass in the second half opened up their free-flowing transition offense, which led to three 3-pointers and easy layups. Senior Dillon Waikle made back-to-back 3-pointers to open the fourth quarter, and Jake Cameron hit another on the Tritons’ next possession to push the lead to 46-32.
Dana Hills (9-18, 0-8) took the early lead behind the strong play of guards Harold Hall, Parker Romo and Nathan Hernandez. Romo and the Dolphins offense attacked the Tritons inside, drawing multiple shooting fouls and putting the Tritons in early foul trouble. Hernandez, Hall and Romo all scored, respectively, on the Dolphins final three possessions of the first half, fueling a 12-6 run that gave the visiting team a 30-25 lead at the midway point.
The Tritons refocused effort in the third quarter halted all the momentum Dana Hills had built up to that point.
“We just had to regroup a little bit (in the second half). I think we were all getting frustrated … things weren’t going our way,” Fotheringham said. “We came together and I think that’s all we needed to do.”
Girls Basketball Hits the Road in CIF-SS First Round
Coming off its best season in years, the red-hot Dana Hills girls basketball team was set to open CIF-SS Division 1A competition on the road against Cypress on Feb. 18. Results were not available at press time.
The Dolphins, who placed second in the Sea View League, drew a tough first-round opponent in Cypress, the second-place finisher in the six-member Empire League. Cypress went 17-9 on the season, including an 8-2 record in league play.
Dolphins Soccer Opens Playoff-Run Against Edison
The Dana Hills girls soccer team was set to open its run through the CIF-SS Division 1 Championships with a first-round match on the road against Edison on Feb. 18. Results were not available at press time.
The Dolphins (6-4-10) placed third in the South Coast League, going 2-1-1 down the stretch to secure a playoff berth.
Edison (16-5-2) finished runner-up in the competitive Sunset League and entered the playoffs on a hot streak. The Chargers won four of their final five games of the regular season.
The winner of the Dana Hills-Edison matchup will play the winner of Tesoro-Esperanza in the second round on Feb. 23.
Ninth-Ranked Dolphins Heads into Playoffs
The ninth-ranked Dana Hills girls water polo team was given a tough first-round matchup in the CIF-SS Division 2 Championships. The Dolphins, who placed third in the South Coast League, were slated to open the playoffs on the road against No. 8 Long Beach Wilson on Feb. 18. Results were not available at press time.
The two teams entered the match having played against one another twice before earlier in the season. The Dolphins bested Long Beach Wilson 9-8 in a nonleague match on Dec. 18 and Long Beach Wilson edged Dana Hills 6-5 on Jan. 22.
The Dolphins’ match against Long Beach Wilson is one of two Division 2 first-round matchups that features two top-10 teams. The other top-10 matchup in the bracket is No. 7 Agoura against No. 10 Rancho Cucamonga.
The winner of the Dana Hills-Long Beach Wilson match will play the winner of Murrieta Valley-Thousand Oaks in the quarterfinals on Feb. 20. Murrieta Valley is the No. 1-seeded team in Division 2.
Boys Soccer Falls to Hawks in Final Game
Despite scoring two second-half goals, the Dana Hills boys soccer team was bested by Laguna Hills 5-2 on Feb. 11 in the final Sea View League match of the season.
Laguna Hills held a 2-0 advantage after the first half and was able to find the back of the net three more times in the final 40 minutes.
Evan Bicknell and Ethan Lyons each scored once for the Dolphins.
The Dolphins’ run through league play will be a forgettable one, as the team went winless in 10 matches, earning two draws.