May 30, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Portola clinches PCL title with victory over defending champion Woodbridge

Colin Huang of Portola drives against Woodbridge in Tuesday’s game. (Photo: OC Sports Zone, Tim Burt).

Portola High School’s boys basketball squad captured the Pacific Coast League title Tuesday night and did so against defending champion Woodbridge on the Warriors’ home court.

The Bulldogs, behind a 24-point effort by junior guard Colin Huang, defeated Woodbridge 60-44 to wrap up the program’s second league title in three seasons. Eugene Jung (14 points) and Makai Brown (11 points) also had big games for Portola (15-7, 9-2).

“That’s the league championship right there, what a great place to do it,” said Portola Coach Brian Smith. “I know two of the last three years, we’re league champs and Woodbridge was league champs last year so coming into their place to win is a good feeling.

“I was very proud of our guys. That second half was just huge. In the third quarter, we turned our defense up and guys just made plays and Colin Huang had a phenomenal game tonight.”

Woodbridge led 26-25 at halftime, but Portola took its game to another level, outscoring the Warriors 22-6 in the third quarter to take command. Portola started the third quarter on a 10-2 run. Portola led 47-32 after three quarters.

Woodbridge (11-14, 6-4) is still in the hunt for a CIF playoffs berth with league makeup games remaining Thursday and Saturday vs. Laguna Hills at Woodbridge. Four teams from the league advance to the playoffs.

Woodbridge was without star center Nygle Williams, who is lost for the season with a hand injury.

“That third quarter got us, our guys came out and they battled but it’s just the little things in these type of games,” said Woodbridge Coach Steve Scoggin. “We had a young group out there, not having Nygle, 15 points and 15 rebounds a game, hurts and the best player in league. Ethan Fu has been out the last two weeks, he’s a double digit scorer.

“But guys stepped up and battled, it’s just kind of how the year has been. We haven’t once had our full team together all years. There’s always been something. I was looking forward to seeing us all together at once, but it’s just the way this year went.”

“But you have to give credit to Portola, they came out and they executed.”

And the Bulldogs had the offensive spark from Huang who had 11 points in the third quarter and sank three 3-pointers in the game.

“We were down at one point and we had to dig deep,” said Huang. “It was a team effort overall and we gave it all we got. It’s (the league title) what we’ve been working for all season. Like we say every game, ‘the job is not finished until it’s done.”

Smith, the Portola coach, was happy with performances of other players too, including Jung, who suffered a cut lip but was able to finish, and Brown.

“Makai is such a good defensive guy for us, so when he gets rewarded with offense that only helps us,” Smith said. “The team feeds off each other. He’s a solid defensive player. I would hate to play against him. I’m glad he’s on our team.”

The game was well attended by both Woodbridge and Portola fans and most fans appeared to be wearing masks as is required for indoor venues.

—Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com