Wolverines drop first game of season, fall to Mira Costa

In the final pool play game of the Mira Costa Pacific Shores Tournament, the varsity boys’ basketball team couldn’t top the tournament’s host and defending champion, losing 67-59 in a game on Thursday night and ceding the “Pool A” championship to the Mustangs in the process.

Mira Costa (3-0 overall, 0-0 in Bay League) jumped on Harvard-Westlake early, getting out to an early 24-13 lead and maintaining an 11 point lead at the half. The Wolverines fought hard in the second half, cutting the deficit to 39-38 by the end of the third quarter, but couldn’t catch the Mustangs, who scored an impressive 28 points in the game’s final eight minutes to seal the deal, including 11 fourth quarter points by shooting guard Dylan Kim ’15.

For Harvard-Westlake, center Noah Gains ’15 gave the Mustangs problems all night with his efforts on both sides of the ball, putting up two career-highs with 13 points and a staggering 20 rebounds while becoming the first Wolverine to pull 20+ boards in one game since Chad Kanoff ’13 in a 2013 playoff win over Laguna Beach. Through three games, Gains is averaging 9.7 PPG and 10.3 RPG, having little trouble adjusting to his new position.

Point guard Alex Copeland ’15 also helped keep the Wolverines within reach, finishing with 25 points in the game (and 2 for 3 from three-point-range) before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Ali Iken ’17 added 12 points, although he struggled a bit from the field, shooting 5-for-16 on the night. The Wolverines were again without guard Wolfgang Novogratz ’16, who holds scholarship offers from Northwestern, Villanova, and Rutgers, as he is still recovering from a stress fracture in his foot, and guard Carter Begel ’17 also hasn’t yet played in the tournament due to sickness.

Because Harvard-Westlake (2-1 overall, 0-0 in Mission League) finished second in its pool, the Wolverines will advance to the tournament’s third-place game on Saturday. They will face the second-place finishers in “Pool B,” Gardena (3-1 overall, 0-0 in Marine League), at 6 P.M., in the same Mira Costa gymnasium.

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