At this point, I’ve almost run out of ways to describe the 2021 Islanders boys’ basketball team. The high flying Islanders yet again took care of business as they rolled to a 56-44 win over Pilibos High School on Thursday, June 17 to advance to the CIF SoCal Div 4-A Regional Final Championship game. It was a signature Islander win, featuring stout inside scoring that was complemented by a bevy of three-pointers. Combined with a physical defensive playstyle that so many Islanders fans have become accustomed to seeing.
In the first, the Islanders set the defensive tone early as both Luke Chisholm and Wayne McKinney recorded blocks on the first two Pilibos possessions. Along with the strong defense, on the other end of the floor, the Islander offense was off to a hot start from beyond the arc as both McKinney and Alex Crawford rained down three-pointers to give Coronado the early 8-4 lead.
The strong showing from beyond the arc continued as just two-possession later, three-point specialist Chisholm got in on the act, burying a three-ball of his own to make it a 13-8 game. Chisholm then added a two-point jumper to give the Islanders the 15-12 lead at the break.
With just the three-point lead, Coronado kicked things into the next gear going on a 7-0 run to start the second thanks to a driving lay-up from McKinney, and an earth-shaking dunk from Crawford, and yet another three-pointer from Chisholm.
The Islanders managed to move their lead to double digits in the quarter thanks to more scores in the paint from McKinney and Crawford that gave Coronado a 28-16 lead with 2:52 to play in the second. Pilibos however would not go away quietly, as the visiting Eagles went on a 7-1 run of their own to end the half at 29-23.
However, this six-point margin was the closest the visiting Eagles would get. Out of the half, the Islanders again turned it up a notch. Following a Crawford bucket to start the 3rd, Zach Jackson stole the ball from the Pilibos Small Forward and took it coast to coast for the score.
The Jackson bucket seemed to ignite the Coronado offense as the Islanders went on a 12-2 run over the final minutes of the third thanks to six points each from McKinney and Crawford. The run was capped by an Islanders special, as McKinney drew to defenders on a pass to Crawford for the two-handed slam, giving Coronado a 42-30 lead at the break.
The defense also did a phenomenal job in the third thanks to stellar play from all Islander defenders, but perhaps most notably from No. 23 Joseph Taylor-Pate, who recorded two steals and two blocks. The second of which saw the senior chase down the Eagles ball-handler and reject his shot at the rim.
Coronado carried the momentum of the end of the third into the fourth thanks to back-to-back buckets from Jackson and McKinney to make it a 44-32 game. Pilibos hit a 3 pt in their following possession, which drew the game back to single digit difference. But the Islanders quickly killed any hopes of a comeback after a steal from Nolan Reuter who dished to McKinney for an easy bucket and a McKinney jumper to make it 53-40 with 1:16 to play.
Coronado bled out the clock for the final minute to take home the 56-44 victory over the Eagles to advance to the CIF Southern California Div. 4-A Championship. The Islanders will face a familiar foe, as they will do battle against Orange Glen, the same team they beat in the CIF Division II Championship just a week ago.
The game will be at home in Coronado on Saturday, June 19th at 7:00 p.m.
SO CAL Championship Basketball game
CHS Islanders v. Orange Glen
June 19, 2021, 7 pm @ Coronado High School
$12 adults, $5 students
Buy tix online here (not for sale at the door): https://gofan.co/app/events/