June 25, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

San Clemente holds off late Woodbridge rally in final minutes to capture narrow win

Will Whidden of San Clemente and Jason Briggs of Woodbridge get ready for the opening tip-off. (Photo: Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone).

San Clemente’s boys basketball team survived a late run by Woodbridge and held on for a 61-58 victory over the Warriors Wednesday night in a hotly-contested game at the Portola-Woodbridge Classic at Woodbridge.

The Tritons (6-2) led by three at halftime and extended their lead to 11 points in the second half, but Woodbridge battled back and had a chance to tie the game on its final possession.

However, a three-point attempt fell off the rim and San Clemente rebounded the ball as time expired. Porter Hansen scored 15 points and Christian Fernandez and Will Whidden, who had 14 points each, led San Clemente.

Hudson Tolliver had 11 points for the Tritons and made five clutch free throws in the fourth quarter to seal the win. Woodbridge got back into the game on a basket by Jaiden Sabino to cut the lead to a point with 1:30 left.

“It was a great game, Woodbridge is a really good team and they’re basically a league type of team and they battle and they shot a lot of good three’s and we did a really good job of attacking the boards and trying to get some easy points,” said San Clemente Coach Landon Pluimer. “We’re pretty happy.

“Will Whidden did really good, Porter Hansen and Christian Fernandez played great. It’s a tough team to get shots on and they make a lot of three’s. We just found a way to kind of grind it out though.”

Whidden had six of his points in the third quarter, including a dunk which helped San Clemente outscore Woodbridge 16-8. The Tritons used their size advanced to get put-back hoops and extend their lead going into the final quarter, much to the delight of six vocal San Clemente students who supported the team behind the bench.

“He’s a difference maker,” the coach said of the 6-6 Whidden. “He’s big and long and he’s very athletic. When we get him going, we do really well.”

Woodbridge (4-3) was led by JC Schindler, who had 16 points and four 3-pointers and Jason Briggs, who had 14 points. However both Schindler and Briggs fouled out in the final minutes. Stephen Lamp had 13 points for the Warriors.

Woodbridge Coach Steve Scoggin was pleased with his team’s comeback, but said San Clemente’s rebounding was the difference.

”It’s kind of been the tale of our season, we pulled it off earlier in the year against Valley Christian,” he said. “But it’s hard to beat a team when they’re 15 plus on offensive rebounds and we’re giving them multiple chances on the offensive end. But you have to give San Clemente credit. They’re big, they’re tough, they’re coached well and they shoot the ball really well.

“I’m proud of my guys, they battled, they had a shot, that’s all we can ask for. They beat us up the whole game on the boards. They were up seven offensive rebounds in the first half and double digits in the second half, and that’s the game. But our kids battled, they really did.

“It hurts, but we’re going to learn and in all these battles are going to help us for later on.”

San Clemente plays Laguna Beach Thursday at 4 p.m. at Portola while Woodbridge meets Capo Valley Christian Friday at 7 p.m. at Woodbridge.

Each team is guaranteed four games in the event, which wraps up Saturday.

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