The Islanders men’s basketball team looked to get back on track this week after suffering two one-possession losses last week. After picking up two wins earlier in the week, the first being a 76-50 win over Tri-City Christian and the other an 84-76 win over San Diego, Coronado looked to make it a 3-0 week as they hoped to beat the San Diego High Cavers for the second time in one week.
The Islanders were able to jump out to an early 5-0 lead after back-to-back buckets from #30 Zach Jackson, both of which came off assist from senior point guard #3 Wayne McKinney. To go along with the strong start of offense, the Islander defense came to play as well, as they held the Cavers to just 1/6 shooting to start the game. Coronado used their strong start to give them an early 10-2 lead with just 4:36 left in the first quarter. A big reason for the Islander lead was their success shooting from beyond the arc, shooting 66% from 3pt in the first quarter. By the end of the first, the Islanders were leading 17-12.
To start the second quarter, the Cavers went on an 8-3 run to help close the Islanders’ gap making it a 20-20 game with 5:44 left in the quarter. However, Coronado quickly responded thanks to a nice driving layup from #5 Alex Crawford, who had 7 points in the second, followed by a corner 3-ball from #11 Nolan Ruter stretching the Islander lead back to 6 points. The Islanders out-rebounded the Cavers 16-7, thanks to the constant work off the glass from Crawford, McKinney, and Jackson. The Islanders added two more buckets before the end of the second and held a 38-32 lead at the half.
Leading the way scoring for the Islanders at the half were: McKinney, 13 pts, 5 assists, and 6 rebs, Crawford 11pts, 2 assists, 9 rebs, and Jackson, 6pts, 1 assist and 4 rebs.
One thing to note about the game was the Islanders’ improved perimeter defense, which had been an issue for the Islanders this season. Still, Coronado held the Cavers to under 20 percent from beyond the arc in the first half.
When Coronado came out for the second half, they would only build on their 6 point lead. They opened the 2nd half much like they did the first, with an opening 3 pointer from #30 Jackson, followed by a big two-handed slam by Crawford on their next possession, and in just under two minutes, the Islanders had a 10 point lead, their largest of the night. The lead continued to grow when with 4:45 left, the Islanders went on an 11-3 run thanks to a pair of 3 pointers from #1 Luke Chisholm, a driving layup by McKinney, and then yet another 3-pointer from #11 Ruter. To go along with their potent third quarter offense, the Islander defense was just as dominant as well. In the third, the Islanders held the Cavers to just 6 points (under 25% from the field). Crawford’s strong defensive showing was anchored, and he recorded 3 blocks in the quarter and helped the Islanders control the glass. With both dominant offense and defense, the Islanders had a commanding 55-38 lead heading into the fourth.
The fourth quarter, in many ways, mirrored that of the third. Coronado’s first possession chewed up nearly two minutes of clock, as Mikinney racked up 4 consecutive offensive rebounds. The Cavers attempted to get back into the game, shaving the Islanders lead down to 13 with just over a minute left to play. But it was to no avail as thanks to McKinney’s back-to-back layups, who led the Islanders with a team-high 28 points, the Islanders put the game on ice and claim the 67-54 victory over San Diego. The win marked the third in a row for the Islanders and pushed their record on the young season to 4-2.