Northwood stays hot in first-round playoff victory over San Clemente

IRVINE – Northwood’s boys basketball team, coming off a Pacific Coast League championship, took its play to another level Wednesday night as it defeated San Clemente 72-55 in the opening round of the CIF-SS Division 2AA playoffs at Northwood High.

Northwood (23-5) moves into the second round Friday night against No. 2-seeded Canyon at Canyon High.

The Timberwolves held a 19-11 lead after one quarter before breaking the game open in the second quarter, outscoring San Clemente 24-9 to take a 43-20 halftime lead.

Northwood made 13 3-pointers in the game.

“We’ve been playing this way the last six or seven games since Jake (Jacob Huynh) got healthy,” said Northwood coach Tim O’Brien. “And we got healthy as a team.

“We’re getting good leads against good teams, whether it’s CdM or Beckman or now San Clemente.”

Huynh scored 20 points, 12 coming in the first half.

Northwood also got great offensive production from starting guard Damian Pintor, known more for his rebounding and defense. Pintor scored 16 points, 13 in the second quarter when he sank three 3-pointers.

“With the guys we got, he’s kind of the fifth option,” O’Brien said. “And he got it going.”

Northwood maintained control in the third quarter, outscoring San Clemente 17-11 to take a 29-point lead into the final stanza.

“I felt we played really good team defense,” Huynh said. “They were really big and they attack the inside really well. I felt that we contained them. They have some good outside shooters and I feel like we closed out really well on them and limited their threes.”

San Clemente (17-11) was led by Chris Kane with 15 points and Josh Walker with 14 points.

San Clemente coach Marc Popovich said his players battled hard.

“I thought we had really good looks; we just didn’t hit any of them and they (University) didn’t miss,” he said. “I thought our intensity was good and our defensive pressure was good. That first quarter was right where we wanted it.”

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