Woodbridge boys basketball surges past Portola in fourth quarter

IRVINE — Woodbridge’s boys basketball team completed Pacific Coast League play with a 56-52 win over Portola on Tuesday at Woodbridge High.

The Warriors (13-13, 5-2) are currently in second place in the league standings behind Sage Hill. Beckman also has two league losses, but has one more league game remaining.

The league will hold a three-day tournament next week to finish the regular season.

Tuesday’s game was a tale of two halves. Portola (14-10, 3-3) made its first four 3-pointers and shot 50 percent from 3-point range in the first half. The Bulldogs scored only 17 points in the second half and were 0 for 7 from 3-point range.

“I just challenged the guys, our season has kind of been about our defense,” Woodbridge coach Steve Scoggin said. “We couldn’t find a way but in the second half our guys stuck through it and stepped up.”

Woodbridge trailed by eight points in the third quarter and was down 45-40 entering the fourth quarter. The Warriors went on a 9-2 run to take the lead and force a Portola timeout.

The Warriors’ James Schindler scored seven of his 15 points in the fourth quarter and added a steal and a pair of blocks on defense.

“The kid has the most grit I’ve seen in a long time, he’ll do everything,” Scoggin said of Schindler. “That’s what he does on both ends. I put him on their best player and on the offensive end I just let him go.”

Stephen Lamp also had 15 points and made a big 3-pointer in the fourth quarter. Ethan Crawford grabbed three big rebounds in the fourth and Ethan Fu made a fadeaway jump shot.

The Warriors shot 40 percent from 3-point range and forced 17 turnovers.

Devin Daniel had 21 points to lead Portola, 20 of which came in the first half. Colin Huang had 13 points despite battling foul trouble for much of the second half. Jayden Villanueva had two steals in the fourth quarter and six points.

The Pacific Coast League, which is now at eight teams with the addition of Sage Hill, took a unique approach to league play this season. Teams play each other only once instead of twice and then there is a league tournament at the end of the regular season that will help decide the final league standings.

The standings will determine which teams receive guaranteed spots in the CIF-SS playoffs.

The league tournament will begin Wednesday, Feb. 1. All of the games will be played at Portola High.

The teams will be seeded one through eight based on the league standings at the end of league play.

There will be a winner’s side of the bracket and a loser’s side of the bracket. Each game will be assigned a certain point value which will help determine the league standings at the end of the tournament.

“Every single team in this league can beat someone, that’s how this league is,” Scoggin said. “I think this tournament will be a lot of fun. It’s like a college atmosphere and I think the kids are going to love it.

“The teams have to bring it every night because anyone can get beat.”

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