The Huntington Beach High boys' basketball team wiped out a slow start to Monday's MLK Day Challenge game against city rival Ocean View by turning in a stunning finish.
The Oilers faced a large deficit in the early going of their annual January clash with the Seahawks, but stormed back big-time in the fourth quarter and pulled away to a 79-61 nonleague victory at Ocean View.
The turnaround was staggering: Huntington had trailed by 16 points late in the first quarter and was down six points, heading into the final eight minutes. From that point on, though, it was all Oilers.
"I told the kids to be patient and don't get rattled," Huntington Coach Fabian Luna said after Ocean View had opened up a 22-6 lead with 2:37 left in the opening quarter. "We had been trading baskets with them in the first three quarters, but in the fourth quarter we locked down defensively and got to the basket on offense. We knew our advantage was to work from the inside out, and we did that in the fourth quarter."
The Oilers, ranked No. 11 in CIF Southern Section Division 1-A and now 14-7 overall, trailed, 57-51, going into the fourth quarter. Junior guard Ryan Morrissey hit his third three-pointer of the game just 15 seconds into the quarter and it ignited a 17-0 run that took the Oilers out to a 68-57 lead, with 3:03 left to play.
They led by no fewer than nine points the rest of the way.
Senior guard Andrew TenBrink hit 17 of 20 free throw attempts and led all scorers with 29 points. Senior forward Harley Ruder, who scored 10 straight points during the decisive, 17-0 spurt, poured in 25 points.
Sophomore guards Kendall Small and Tyler Burch scored 17 and 15 points, respectively, for Ocean View (13-6), ranked fourth in Division 3-A.
The win was the second of the season for Huntington against Ocean View. The Oilers had defeated the Seahawks, 61-54, on Dec. 12 at the Westminster Tournament. Ruder scored 32 in that game.
"Harley had a real nice second half," Luna said. "They were doubling on him in the first half, but we were able to work him inside in the second half. This was a game of power versus speed."
The Oilers moved into a tie for second place in the league standings with Edison and Los Alamitos by knocking off Edison, 63-58, Friday. TenBrink again led all scorers with 21 points, Ruder had 19 points and Morrissey added 11 points for Huntington.
Sophomore guard Derek Molina scored 14 points, sophomore guard Brae Ivey had 13 points and senior forward Harrison Brunelli added 10 points for Edison (No. 14, Division 1-A). The Chargers, who fell to 3-2 in league and 13-9 overall, play host to Newport Harbor at 7 p.m. Friday.
Ocean View improved to 3-0, which leads the Golden West League pack after the Seahawks crushed visiting Orange, 85-32, Friday. Burch led five Seahawks in double figures with 16 points.
Huntington begins the second half of Sunset League action Friday at home against league-leader Fountain Valley at 7 p.m. The Oilers are 3-2 in league, two games behind the 5-0 Barons.
Ocean View continues the second half of its league schedule Friday with a 7 p.m. game at Santa Ana.
Fountain Valley used a big second half Friday that allowed the visiting Barons to finish off Marina, 69-59, and in the process, finished the first half of the Sunset League title race undefeated.
"It's a Sunset League road win and it's a beautiful thing, no matter how you slice it," said Fountain Valley Coach Roger Holmes, whose team finished the first half of league play 5-0.
It wasn't easy. Marina led throughout much of the first half, but the Barons turned the tide with a blitz to start the second half. It paved the way to an eventual, 16-point lead, and it helped fend off a surge by the Vikings late in the fourth quarter.
"Our guys played hard and came out focused and fighting at the start of the game, but we tend to have one quarter in every game where we tend to fall apart," said Marina Coach Nick Racklin, whose team went to 0-5 in league. "That was the third quarter for us tonight."