It was the one of the most highly-anticipated games of the “Rivalry Week” going on in Costa Mesa. Costa Mesa High was looking forward to this game, with their record of (12-6) in the preseason. As a rivalry game, and the first game of the Orange Coast League for both teams, the Eagles and Mustangs had something to prove. Winning this game could further Mesa’s argument that it was a contender for the league title, while Estancia could prove that it still had fight.
The game started with the Mustangs taking the lead. The Mesa’s offense blew past Estancia with a 6-0 run. Picking up two fouls in the first quarter, Estancia’s leading-scorer, Josh Mendoza, was forced to go to the bench. Playing defense, Mustang’s locked down the interior and closed any easy opportunities for easy points. Costa Mesa led the Eagles by 14 points at the end of the first quarter (19-5).
Coming out of halftime, the Mustangs tried to control the bleeding. Unfortunately, they came up short. Senior, Quinton Bell, came fresh off an ankle energy and seemed to be battling through the pain. During one play, Bell grabbed three offensive rebounds, only to come up empty on four attempts to get the second chance points through a lay-up. Other than Hefner’s 4 three-pointers, the Mustangs came up empty from long range. The damage was getting out of control as the game led into the fourth quarter.
Mustang defense began relax around the perimeter and halfway through the fourth quarter the Eagles took the lead. The Estancia crowd stood up at full force as they sensed victory in their team’s grasp. Trying to rally its struggling team, the Mustang side rose up as well. The Eagle’s continued to break the home crowd’s heart as three pointer after three pointer met the end of the basket. Josh Mendoza, silenced the crowd around the two minute mark with a fadeaway three in the corner. Mesa’s team and fans stood speechless staring at a surprising scoreboard and a cheering Estancia crowd. The Eagle's won by 3 points, due to their large success from behind the arc, making 13 three pointers.
The Battle of the Bell, is not over. The Mustangs have one more chance to three-peat if they beat the eagles in a higher margin than this game (3 points) in their next match-up.