May 28, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Portola holds off late run by Woodbridge to win 61-51 and move into a tie for first in PCL

Nygle Williams of Woodbridge goes for a shot as Portola’s Omar Habibeh (No. 4) and Mohsen Hashimi defend. (Photo courtesy Jose Lomboy, For OC Sports Zone)

Portola’s boys basketball team moved into a tie for first place in the Pacific Coast League with Beckman, defeating Woodbridge 61-51 Wednesday night at Woodbridge.

The Bulldogs may have left the floor not knowing that University had upset Beckman 66-63, which moved Portola into a tie for the top spot.

It wasn’t easy for Portola in the end as Woodbridge tried to make life difficult for the Bulldogs, cutting the lead to seven with under five minutes left. Portola had a 29-22 halftime lead.

Portola (12-11, 4-1) regrouped and finished strong to seal the win.

“I’ve said it all year, their record is not an indicator of how good a team they are,” said Portola Coach Brian Smith. “They have athletes, they work hard, they’re well coached. They just had some breaks and we knew coming in we were going to have to fight tonight because they’re a scrappy team. Kudos to our guys for fighting through that but I have nothing but respect for what John (Woodbridge Coach Halagan) has done here and Woodbridge overall.”

Portola was led by Soma Doherty (19 points) and Mohsen Hashimi (16 points). Doherty sank 13 of 16 free throw attempts.

“It had its ups and downs, if we’re giving it a grade, I’m thinking in the B or B plus range,” Smith said. “We didn’t play a perfect game, which we never do. I thought our guys hung together. We made some silly plays but what we teach is if you make a negative at one end, come back and make a positive. I think we had some guys do that. I was pretty happy with our guys.”

Woodbridge (4-17, 2-3) suffered through a cold shooting night and missed 12 free throw attempts. Nygle Williams (14 points, nine rebounds) and Eli Hill (12 points) led Woodbridge. Steven Mimpaya added 11 points for the Warriors.

“We had to try and beat a quality opponent, Portola is a good basketball team and Coach Smith had them really well prepared,” Coach Halagan said. “I don’t know how many point blank shots missed the rim and that’s all I could think about in the fourth quarter when we were trying to mount a comeback.

“We missed so many layups and 12 free throws and 16 turnovers, we were just playing uphill all night long. It’s tough to play uphill against a quality opponent that is well coached and well preppared. Kudos to Portola, they got us tonight. We just have to be better at their place in the second round. Our destiny is still out in front of us, but obviously we need to be better against the teams we play. Otherwise, it’s going to be hard to win another game in this league.”

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