ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Considering it flew into these parts Saturday, the Capistrano Valley High School basketball team's slow start against Bishop Ireton (Alexandria) Monday couldn't be pinned on a bit of turbulence over Omaha or an in-flight meal that wasn't up to par.
The Cougars, who eventually came away with a 55-51 victory, started the game missing nine shots, committing seven turnovers and falling behind, 10-0.
Capistrano Valley (7-3) didn't score until center Jim Waikle made a free throw with 1:21 remaining in the first quarter. Later, Charles Lockard make a layup and Waikle scored on an offensive rebound to cut the deficit to 10-5 at the end of the first quarter.
"It's easy to say jet lag or something like that, but we just didn't get a good start," said Mark Thornton, Capistrano Valley coach. "I don't know if we think we're a great three-point shooting team or what, but we took some shots we shouldn't be taking. Once we started to run our offense, we settled down."
Bishop Ireton led, 15-12, midway through the second quarter, but the Cougars scored 11 of the half's final 15 points, sparked by guard Todd Marinovich.
Marinovich scored eight points, including two three-point shots, to give Capistrano Valley a 23-19 halftime lead.
The Cardinals tied the score at 23-23 on a layup by Ed McCue, but a six-point run gave the Cougars a lead they never relinquished.
The closest Bishop Ireton could come after that was 44-41 with 2:45 remaining. But the Cougars hit 12 of 14 free throws in the fourth quarter to keep their advantage.
Bishop Ireton had trouble scoring against Waikle, 7-feet 1-inch. Waikle blocked eight shots and helped hold the Cardinals to 16-of-51 shooting from the floor. He has blocked 22 shots in his last three games.
Ireton's leading scorer, 6-5 center Horace Scruggs, finished with eight points on 2-of-13 shooting. Waikle blocked three of Scruggs' shots.
"If you go at him (Waikle) inside, he's going to block the shot," Thornton said. "They decided to go at him, and when he moves his feet well, he'll get 8 to 12 blocks per game."
Marinovich led the Cougars with 15 points and 8 rebounds. Randy Stark added 13 points off the bench and Chris Kostoff scored 10.
Capistrano Valley plays Archbishop Carroll of Washington tonight.
"We figure them to be a little quicker," Thornton said. "We obviously won't run with them. We will hold the ball, run our offense and look for good shots."