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Ocean View tops Westminster, claims fourth straight league title

About the only drama for most of Ocean View High's Golden West League title-clinching victory Friday night over visiting Westminster concerned Paul Head and whether he would break his school record for three-pointers in a game.

Head made seven in the first half, just three off his mark, as the Seahawks ran to a double-digit lead in the first quarter, then kept building on it, pushing it past 30 by the third. If it appeared over, Westminster had other ideas.

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Ocean View had to survive a manic final period as the Lions rallied behind an aggressive full-court press and six three-point baskets, but the Seahawks claimed an 87-72 triumph to secure their fourth straight league boys' basketball title.

The Seahawks (21-4 overall, 8-0 in league) won their 12th league crown in 13 seasons and their 19th in 21 seasons. They have won 33 straight games in league.

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Head just missed his mark, making nine shots from beyond the arc en route to 40 points.

Seth Mishler made six three-pointers for 18, and Mehkel Harvey pitched in with 15 points and 15 rebounds as the Seahawks topped 80 points for the fifth time in league play and sixth time this season.

Next up, after wrapping up league play with road games at Santa Ana and Orange, is the CIF Southern Section Division 3AA playoffs, where nothing is certain.

"We want to finish league off really strong, and then the playoffs, we'll worry about that [when we get there]," Seahawks co-coach Roger Holmes said. "Our division is really good. Every team that's in the top 10 can win on any given night. [Top-ranked Long Beach] St. Anthony is really, really good, and two through 15 can beat anybody. It's a really tough division."

Ocean View, ranked fifth in Division 3AA, has the tools to make a run, but it will have to deal with the press better than it did in a manic final eight minutes Friday.

Isaiah Lee, Ryan Phung and Anthony Nguyen hit two three-pointers apiece for the second-place Lions (12-12, 5-3). The Lions forced seven fourth-quarter turnovers — five in the first 2½ minutes — and sent Ocean View to the free-throw line, where it struggled, as they used a 10-3 run over a little more than two minutes to trim their deficit to 13 with 1:16 to play.

There was a lesson in there for the Seahawks, Holmes noted.

"Sometimes we're a little loose with the ball against heavy pressure," he said. "You know, we had some turnover there in the fourth quarter a little bit ... and that's one thing that we have to be better at as we move into the playoffs."

Head made five three-pointers and scored 17 points in the first quarter. Ocean View, down by five three minutes into the game, went on a 19-3 run to take command late in the opening period.

A Head bank shot and Vincent Caiazzo three-pointer to start the second half provided a 22-point edge, and it was 65-33 with 2:54 to go in the third quarter as Mishler hit two threes, Head netted another and scored after a steal, and Harvey finished off a fastbreak with a dunk in a 13-0 spree.

Westminster made a game of it after that, but the gap was too great to overcome.

"We were up by 30, and they did a nice job of making some shots," Holmes said. "They've got some guys who can make shots, but so do we."

*

Ocean View 87, Westminster 72

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Westminster 17 – 12 – 12 – 31 — 72

Ocean View 28 – 18 – 23 – 18 — 87

W – I. Lee 19, J. Lee 17, Phung 17, A. Nguyen 12, Melbon 4, Mao 3.

3-pt. goals – Phung 5, I. Lee 3, A. Nguyen 2, J. Lee 1, Mao 1.

Fouled out – None.

Technicals – None.

OV – Head 40, Mishler 18, Harvey 15, Caiazzo 9, C. Nguyen 5.

3-pt. goals – Head 9, Mishler 6, C. Nguyen 1, Caiazzo 1.

Fouled out – None.

Technicals – None.

SCOTT FRENCH is a contributor to Times Community News. Follow him on Twitter: @ScottJFrench

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