A San Diego CIF Championship was a massive feat for this historic Coronado boys’ basketball team. But it appears that these trail-blazing Islanders aren’t quite done yet. On Tuesday night, June 15, the No. 1 seeded Islanders thrashed Milken High School 67-44 in the opening round of the 2021 CIF Southern California Boys Basketball Championships – Division 4-A tournament.
In the opening minutes, it was easy to see that the visiting Wildcats were going to be in for an extremely long night. As right out of the shoot Coronado jumped out to an 11-2 lead thanks to three consecutive three-pointers from senior and USD signee No. 3 Wayne McKinney and long-range sniper No. 1 Luke Chisholm. The run was capped off with a steal by Chisholm and he lobbed it to No. 5 Alex Crawford, who slammed it in for one his most vicious dunks this season.
Coronado continued to turn defense into offense as on the next Milken possession No. 11 Nolan Reuter stole the ball and kicked it out to McKinney, who buried another triple. The Islanders eventually closed out the first half with a commanding 17-5 lead thanks to the team’s fifth three-ball of the night, this one coming courtesy of Crawford.
In the second, Coronado’s offense continued to thrive. As he seems to always do, to start the quarter, McKinney hit a jumper at the top of the key to make it 19-5. However, it should be noted that while the offense was efficient, it paled in comparison to the effort and dominance the Islanders showed on the defensive. In the second quarter alone the Islanders recorded a total of 8 steals and 6 blocks as a team. Anytime a Milken attempted to drive, it seemed like there was always a white jersey there to either steal the ball or swat it away. Simply put, the Islanders were not letting any shot go up uncontested.
Coronado extended their lead towards the tail end of the second thanks to some strong play off the bench from No. 23 Joseph Taylor-Pate, No. 33 Donny Couts, and No. 4 Kieran Ashley, whose scoring efforts helped give the Islanders a huge 31-12 lead at the half.
With the 19pt lead, some teams would perhaps consider taking their foot off the gas just a touch. But not the Islanders. To start the third, Crawford recorded back-to-back coast-to-coast buckets, and even finished the second one off with a devastating two-handed slam.
Not to be outdone by his senior teammate, McKinney proceeded to go coast to coast himself on the next possession and flush home his own two-handed slam, to make it a 35-14 Islander lead with 6:24 left in the quarter.
The Islanders continued to fill up the basket even late into the third thanks to a pair of buckets from No. 20 Zach Jackson and more production off the bench from Ashley and No. 13 Ben Lee. The offensive showcase from the Islanders netted them 21 points in the quarter and extended their lead to 52-29 heading to the fourth.
To start the fourth, Jackson kept the offense rolling as he played in two buckets, both of which came off assists from McKinney to make it a 56-34 Coronado lead with just 5:54 left to play. But even as the clock slowly began to tick down Coronado kept up the shooting. Following the buckets from Jackson, McKinney and Taylor-Pate both added lay-ins, and No. 21 Darren Hopkins drained one from the right-wing to make it a 63-37 game with 3:44 to play.
The Islanders added five more points down the stretch, just to be safe, thanks to another bucket from Hopkins and a three-pointer from No. 30 Griffen Rosenbloom to seal the Islanders 67-44 quarter-final victory over Milken.
Dominant performances like this are what some have come to expect from the 2021 Islander boys’ basketball team, as with a dominant quarterfinal win vs. Milken under their belt the top-seeded Islanders will now look to the semi-finals where they will face off against the No. 5 seeded Eagles of Pilibos High School on Thursday, June 17th at 4pm in Coronado.