Mustang boys, Sea Hawks girls advance to CIF second round 

Nick Lundy put up 10 points against Montgomery on Tuesday at Mira Costa

by Paul Teetor

Win, lose or draw, from the moment he arrived on the Manhattan Beach campus five years ago Mira Costa boys basketball coach Neal Perlmutter has been a tell-it-like-it-is kind of guy.

His assessment of Tuesday night’s 49-45 victory over Montgomery of San Diego was no different.

“It was an ugly game,” Perlmutter admitted of the first-round win in the CIF Southern California Regional Division 1 playoffs. “But a win is a win and we’re moving on.”

After winning what is most likely their last home game of the season, the eighth-seeded Mustangs will now move on to play top seeded Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks Thursday night at Notre Dame.

Sea Hawk center Ella Zimmerman scored 23 points in victory over Montgomery.

Perlmutter said his team is looking forward to the challenge.

“They’re really talented. They’ve got three guys who have committed to Division 1 college programs – Duke, Gonzaga and Houston,” he said. “But I really believe we can play with anybody. We need to come out with a game plan to put us in a position to win.”

The Mustangs struggled to put away ninth seeded Montgomery, and were clinging to a 3-point lead after Montgomery hit a three pointer to narrow Mira Costa’s lead to 44-41 with two minutes left.

The game – and the crowd – finally caught fire and both teams played with renewed urgency as the outcome was suddenly in doubt after the Mustangs had led from the opening jump ball.

Both super sophomore Jacob De Armas and senior floor leader Will Householter missed the front end of one-and-one foul shot opportunities late in the fourth quarter when Montgomery was desperate to extend the game.

“That could have been costly,” Perlmutter said. “But after that we hit our foul shots to keep the lead.”

Indeed, Householter recovered from his momentary lapse to hit four straight foul shots down the stretch after Montgomery was forced to resort to fouling him to extend the game.

Going into the game, Costa’s scouting report said that Montgomery was a very good three-point shooting team.

“That dictated our game plan,” Perlmutter said. “We wanted to prevent them from getting good looks from three-point range.”

For the most part it worked, Montgomery hit only three three-pointers all game. But that stat didn’t tell the whole story of just how close this game was. Costa was still clinging to its 44-41 lead with just 30 seconds left when Montgomery launched a three-pointer that went in the hoop, rolled around the rim and finally popped out, drawing a huge sigh of relief from the home crowd and cries of frustration from the small but vocal band of Montgomery supporters who drove up from San Diego.

Perhaps it was a hangover from their epic collapse against Mater Dei in the CIF Division 1 semifinals 10 days ago after racing out to a 32-10 lead, but for some reason Costa was not sharp all night. Their offense never reached any kind of rhythm, but the lack of cohesion didn’t cost them the game because they played shut-down defense all game long — as all Perlmutter teams do.

“I think we came out and played fairly well in the first quarter,” Perlmutter said. “In the second, we looked rusty, missed some shots and in the second half, it became a defensive slugfest.”

The Mustangs (now 28-3) were led by Householter’s 22 points and Nick Lundy’s 10. 


Sea Hawk center Ella Zimmerman scored 23 points in victory over Montgomery.

Redondo girls beat

San Fernando

Meanwhile, the second-seeded Redondo girls basketball team beat San Fernando 46-38 at home Tuesday night to advance to the second round of the state playoffs. As usual, the Sea Hawks were led by the great Ella Zimmerman. The 6-foot-4 junior center scored 23 points, exactly half her team’s total. Redondo will host 10th seeded El Dorado in the second round Thursday night.  

Contact: Follow: @paulteetor


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