IRVINE — Mark Thornton, Capistrano Valley High School boys' basketball coach, wasn't surprised when his team almost blew a 13-point lead in the second half of an Irvine World News tournament semifinal game Friday night.
"We're getting pretty good at doing that," he said.
But Thornton's also getting used to watching Cougar forward Brett McCorkle make layups, and guard Tom Airey hit three-pointers as though they were layups.
McCorkle scored 30 points and Airey added 26 as Capistrano Valley, ranked fourth in Orange County, held off Woodbridge for a 74-68 victory at Woodbridge.
Capistrano Valley (9-1) will play South Coast League-rival Irvine in the championship game at 7 tonight at Christ College Irvine.
Airey made eight of 10 three-point shots, including six in a row in the first half as Capistrano Valley overcame an 18-11 deficit. He and McCorkle each had 18 points in the first half, and the Cougars led, 44-31, at halftime.
Woodbridge cut the deficit to 57-47 at the end of the third quarter as Capistrano Valley began turning the ball over.
The Cougars struggled with the Warriors' press early in the fourth quarter, committing five turnovers.
Woodbridge guard Todd Loewe scored nine of his 18 points in a 17-5 Woodbridge run to open the fourth quarter. His three-pointer with 2:31 left cut the Warriors' deficit to 64-62.
"I was worried when they cut it to two," Thornton said. "The momentum had definitely shifted by then. We were getting real tentative. Woodbridge did a good job of taking us out of the game with its press."
David Sedgwick hit two free throws with 2:21 remaining, and Airey hit his final three-pointer with 1:26 left to push Capistrano Valley's lead to 69-62.
"Tom has the green light to shoot that three whenever he wants," Thornton said.
Sedgwick added two free throws with 39 seconds left to give the Cougars a 71-64 lead.
Capistrano Valley played without starter Jose Salvatierra, who injured his foot this week. Thornton said he hopes Salvatierra will be back for tonight's game.
"We just wanted to give him some rest tonight," Thornton said. "Jose and Brett are the only two players back from last year who played very much. We're a very inexperienced team right now."
Despite their inexperience, the Cougars will make their first appearance in the Irvine tournament finals.
"We're just glad to be there," Thornton said. "It should be a good final. Irvine's in our league, so we know what they can do."
Mike Fenton scored 20 points and had nine rebounds for Woodbridge (6-3). McCorkle had nine rebounds for Capistrano Valley.
In other Irvine tournament games:
Edison 46, Corona del Mar 44--Greg Miller made two free throws with 11 seconds left for the Chargers in a consolation game at Woodbridge. Brandon Jessie had 11 points for Edison, and Doug Hesse had 15 for Corona del Mar.
Kennedy 64, Brea-Olinda 54--Jermaine Galloway scored 33 points for the Irish in a consolation semifinal at Woodbridge. Doug Yeo had 16 points and Steve Fox 12 for Brea-Olinda.