Coronado varsity basketball team is a scrappy bunch. Each game this season has been a challenge and the squad is answering with gritty toughness.
Last Wednesday the Calexico Bulldogs came to town to take on the Islanders. Several turnovers early put Coronado down 8 – 0 when senior forward Finley Alexander got the scoring going with a bank shot from the left of the key. He followed with a strong rebound put back and was fouled. When Kieran Ashley stroked a 3-pointer from the wing, the Islanders were back in the game at 13 – 8. Darren Hopkins blocked a shot and Ben Lee sank two free throws after being fouled on a drive. Alexander made a strong drive in traffic for two more to bring Coronado within 3 at the end of the first quarter; 15 – 12.
In the second period, Alexander swished a 15-footer from the corner, Ben Lee made a nifty reverse lay-up, and Connor Little drained a three to keep keeping the Islanders close at 19 – 16. Lee made a nice pass inside to Ashley who slammed the ball home, igniting the home crowd. Alexander banked in another with 2 minutes left in the half. The Calexico guards were very quick, creating steals and fastbreak points to push the visitors’ lead to 31 – 23 at halftime.
Ashley came out strong in the third quarter scoring on a rebound put-back, followed by back-to-back 3-pointers. But the speedy Bulldogs kept the pressure on keeping the lead at double digits. Ben Lee drove the middle of the lane for two and Sam Dulin swished a 3-pointer making the score 50 – 36 going into the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, the Calexico guards found their shooting stroke connecting on multiple 3-pointers to push their lead to 20 midway through the final period. Coronado kept fighting with Alexander connecting from the top of the key and Ben Lee converting free throws. The effort was there for the Islanders if not the execution. Final score 62 – 40. Ashley and Alexander led the Islander scoring with 13 points each and Ben Lee totaled 8.
On Friday Coronado faced Mater Dei High School in tournament play. Mater Dei is a talented team currently ranked eighth in San Diego Division I. They pressed the Islanders early getting turnovers and buckets in transition. Coronado got into foul trouble and had to fight through a few injuries. The hustle was evident, but it was difficult to match up with the bigger, faster Mater Dei who took it to the Islanders winning 82 – 41. Hopkins led Coronado with 12 points, followed by Alexander’s 9. Ashley and Little had 8 points apiece.
The next night Coronado took on the San Diego Southwest Raiders. The Islanders started out hot leading 12 – 9 at the end of the first quarter. However, turnovers continued to plague the Islanders and their shooting cooled off, dropping the game 48 – 38. Lee led the scoring with 12 points and Tekur Velazquez dropped in 11.