Coronado Boys Basketball Teams Posts 3-0 Record Last Week - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado Sports

Coronado Boys Basketball Teams Posts 3-0 Record Last Week

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Posted: Monday, December 30, 2019 5:23 pm | Updated: 5:30 pm, Thu Jan 2, 2020.

Being a successful high school basketball coach is challenging enough without having to worry whether or not you can field a team for medical reasons. Last week with a flu bug decimating his team’s ranks, Islander Boys Basketball Head Coach JD Laaperi entered his team’s first game Thursday against Tri-City Christian with just six varsity players and one JV athlete for insurance, dressed for the game. Fortunately for Laaperi and the Islanders, one of the players who answered the bell, but was at less than 100 percent, was junior standout Wayne McKinney.

Coronado won the first and fourth quarters, with the second and third frames tied, on their way to a 52-41 road win. Laaperi said, “The flu is running through the team unlike any other year I’ve experienced. Wayne wasn’t himself and we played like we were in quicksand for the first three quarters. It was a one or two possession game for most of that time. We had a 7-0 run in the fourth quarter to put us up by 10 with five minutes to go. And we traded baskets the rest of the way. Wayne scored 25 points and David Roberts in his first-ever varsity start scored 10 points and was a good compliment to Wayne. Due to coming back from the flu, Wayne was shooting a lot more from the outside and playing the facilitator role a little more. He was also 7-8 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter to seal the game. We only played a total of six guys in the game.”

From a health perspective, things were only marginally better the following night when the Islanders played at La Jolla High, but McKinney was in rare form. Laaperi characterized his 39-point, four assist and five rebound game as, “One of the all-time Islander performances.” McKinney’s scoring effort tied Coronado High School’s record for points in a single game.

Laaperi added, “Wayne was double and triple-teamed all night long and he scored 39 of our 51 points. He missed two of his easiest layups of the night in the last 10-15 seconds or he would have had the school scoring record. I told him after the game, don’t worry you’ll get the record. The game was a dog fight. They sent everybody they could after Wayne, but they couldn’t stop him. La Jolla went up by 10 with two minutes left in the third quarter. Our other kids were getting good shots, but they weren’t falling. We had been playing man-to-man defense, but we called a timeout and at Coach Sandy Dillon’s suggestion, we switched to a 2-3 zone. La Jolla struggled with the zone and Wayne had enough left. With three minutes to go we had a one-point lead. We got a defensive stop and then we traded baskets. Down the stretch we missed four free throws. On the last missed free throw, Nolan Reuter turned the La Jolla player who rebounded the ball back to the middle of the floor and Luke Chisholm stole the ball. The kids couldn’t have been more excited. They battled back and proved they can win that type of game. Ryan Hoyt and Jack Westphal both scored four points in the game.”

The victory over La Jolla marked an achievement on the season, it put the Islanders’ record at .500 for the first time. Saturday night’s game at West Hills was their opportunity to have a 3-0 record for the week and to head into the break at 6-5. The Islanders won the road game at West Hills 64-57.

But it wasn’t easy according to Laaperi. “As much as I didn’t want to be, we were down 11 points at the end of the third quarter. We were running out of gas. In that game we played primarily zone defense and then we went to a full-court man-to-man press. We outscored them 27-11 in the fourth quarter. We had freshman Nolan Reuter, two sophomores in Luke Chisholm and Kieran Ashley, Wayne McKinney a junior and senior Ryan Hoyt play the entire quarter. We were on our scoring run and I looked at the sick bodies on the bench and decided to just see what happens. Mike Cunningham was back and played about 10 minutes, but he wasn’t himself. They tried a box-and-one defense on Wayne, hoping to slow him down. But he had 32 points, five assists and five rebounds. The story of the game was Kieran Ashley, who didn’t start but played most of the second half. He had 12 points, five blocked shots and 10 rebounds. He was a force and it looked like he finally realized he was a big guy. When it was a one-possession game, he swished two free throws and on the other end of the floor he blocked a shot that went two rows into the stands. Last night he played basketball the way he knows how to play. Kieran takes up space on the floor and when he is focused, he’s hard to move. Ryan Hoyt had three floaters in the lane. Wayne found him found him with a pass, Ryan took one dribble and hit a floater over their big guy. To score 27 points in a quarter, you essentially have to score every possession. We stole one Saturday night.”

Laaperi added some thoughts about McKinney’s performance thus far. “Wayne’s putting up video game numbers, almost 30 points a game. And he has to do it every night against a different gimmick defense. He is trying to let the game come to him and then he is taking over at the right time. He has a level of ability on the court we haven’t seen. The kids are starting to figure it out. They’re moving and getting to open spots better. Ultimately to be successful, we need another guy to step up and average 15 points a game for us.”

The team gets four days off to recover from the flu and other assorted ailments, before the Islanders begin play in the 16-team Mt. Carmel Tournament, the day after Christmas. Their first game will be Dec. 26 at 12:30 p.m. at Mt. Carmel against San Pasqual. The Islanders are guaranteed to play four games in the tournament.

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