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Cardinals tame Tigers to advance
Corning High's towers of power were responsible for all but nine points on Wednesday, but the Cardinals' stalwart defense and rebounding once again set the tone.
Michael Shoemaker and Nick Hoag combined for 20 of Corning's 22 first-half points and the Cardinals defense held Arcata to just 10, but things still got a tad sticky in the fourth quarter before eighth-seeded Corning knocked off No. 9 Arcata 50-42 in the first round of the CIF State Division IV Basketball Championships at home on Wednesday.
With the win, Corning advanced to play top-seeded Cardinal Newman on Saturday in Santa Rosa. Those Cardinals are 29-3 overall and were 14-0 in the North Coast Section's North Bay League.
The Cardinals were able to feed Shoemaker and Hoag consistently in the post, and the Tigers were limited to just a 3-pointer by Latrell Wilson and pair of Cameron Wallace free throws as Corning took a 9-5 lead after one.
The modus operandi that worked in the first quarter was just as effective in the second quarter, as Hoag's eight points and five from Shoemaker made it 22-10 at the break.
Treys from both of Corning's hot hands extended the lead to as much as 30-16 in the third quarter, and the Cardinals appeared to be settled in to take it home as they entered the fourth holding a 32-21 lead.
Arcata had other ideas.
The Tigers hit Corning with full-court pressure and it had the desired effects, as a 38-26 lead quickly shrank after a Hawkin Ritter 3-pointer and successive steals and layups by Sam Winter and Ritter made it just 38-33 with 3:17 remaining.
"We were creating the offense for them with a lot of sloppy offense and passes," said Corning coach Bill Mache. "There were a couple times we didn't communicate defensively and they got wide-open looks."
Trevor Skousen scored all seven of his points in the fourth quarter, including a pair on a nice reverse layup after a rebound, and his two free throws with 59 seconds left pushed a three-point lead to five at 44-39.
Corning was clutch at the line down the stretch, as Hoag followed Skousen by dropping a pair with 36 seconds left, and Shoemaker iced it by canning two pairs of freebies in the closing seconds.
The free-throw line was problematic for the Tigers all night long, as they hit just 11 of 22, including 3 of 8 in the fourth quarter.
"That's a real good offensive team right there, and we took them out of their rhythm tonight," said Mache.
The Tigers averaged 62.8 points per game during the season. Leading scorer Latrell Wilson finished with 17 points, but Corning was able to keep both Ritter and Will Taylor below their double-digit scoring averages.
"They attacked," said Hoag of Arcata scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter after scoring that same number across the first three periods.
"(Breaking the press) is one of our weaknesses and we know we have to work on ball pressure, so we have a few days to work on it."
Hoag finished with a game-high 22 points, and Shoemaker added 19.
CONTACT Craig Purcell at 824-1036 or email@example.com.