WESTMINSTER — Out of the four games played at the Charlie Wilkins Memorial Classic, Coach Ryan Schachter said Corona del Mar High played its hardest in the last one.
The effort was only good enough for the Sea Kings to compete with Ocean View for three quarters on Saturday.
In the fourth quarter, Ocean View pulled away and won, 68-57, to claim seventh place in the tournament at Westminster High. A two-point deficit going into the final eight minutes turned into CdM's second double-digit loss during the six-day tournament.
Ocean View was the third boys' basketball team ranked in the top 10 in Orange County that CdM faced in the past nine days. In those matchups, the Sea Kings stayed close with Tustin throughout the game, with Foothill throughout the first half and with Ocean View throughout three quarters.
Each game ended with CdM losing.
"Hanging with them is good, if that's all you're trying to do. We're trying to win games," said Schachter, before going into the all reasons why his team has fallen short against some of the top teams in the county. "We got to execute and we got to be able to do the little things that it takes to give yourself a chance to win, which is come up with loose balls, [take care of the ball], box out and rebound, and we don't do that.
"If you don't do those things, you're not going to beat average teams, and not that Ocean View is average, but that's just where we're at right now."
Where the Sea Kings stand is at 5-4, losers of three straight. The schedule doesn't get any easier for them, either.
The next two games for CdM, ranked No. 4 in the CIF Southern Section Division 3-AA poll, are against Sunset League teams, Los Alamitos and Newport Harbor. Los Alamitos is the league's perennial champion, and in recent seasons, Newport Harbor has been one of the league's worst teams.
The Sea Kings go up against the Griffins in the Sunset League-Pacific Coast League Challenge at Huntington Beach High on Tuesday at 6 p.m. Three days later, CdM plays host to the Sailors, ranked No. 11 in Division 2-A, in the Battle of the Bay rivalry game.
Next week's games present problems for a CdM team lacking a superstar and size.
"We have to play hard every minute of every game, because we don't have the talent other schools have," said Schachter, whose top two players, Blake Grable and Max Stone, led CdM with 20 and 14 points, respectively, against Ocean View. "For the way we make up for that is by being smart, and competing, and doing the little things. Right now, we're not being smart and we're not doing the little things. And that's a recipe for disaster."
The Sea Kings began to fall apart at the start of the fourth quarter against Ocean View (6-3), ranked No. 4 in Division 3-A.
On its first possession of the quarter, CdM turned the ball over. It happened right in front of Schachter, who stood near the bench, watching Ocean View sophomore standout point guard Kendall Small steal the ball and then push the ball up the court to Josh Mishler for an easy layup.
The steal was one of six for Small, who finished with 23 points, seven rebounds and four assists. However, the quick and athletic Small wasn't the guard who hurt CdM the most.
Nathan Kosai buried seven three-pointers, at one time five in a row. The senior went into Saturday without a three-pointer made and averaging less than a point a game.
Kosai produced 23 points and converted eight-of-11 shots, delivering a career performance.
"He's not one of their top three or four players, but he came [out] and made big shots," said Schachter of Kosai, who in one game surprised his point total from last season. "If he doesn't knock those [seven-of-nine threes] down, then it's probably a different ballgame. He was the difference in the game."