To win the 2013 Academy League boys' basketball championship, teams will have to do one thing: knock off Brethren Christian from its perch.
Oxford Academy of Cypress took that first shot of dropping BC from that position, but the host Warriors showed they have no intention of letting go of their grip as they coasted to a 74-49 victory in a league opener for both teams Tuesday at Ocean View High.
Sophomore point guard Brandon Bryson had a triple-double with 10 points, 10 assists, and 11 steals. Senior center Mamadou Ndiaye led BC in scoring with 21 points in only 18 minutes on the court, junior guard Caleb Keller scored 14 points and fellow junior guard Nick Dang added 10 points.
The Warriors, ranked No. 4 in CIF Southern Section Division 5-A, improved to 11-3 overall.
"A win to start league is always nice," BC Coach Jon Bahnsen said. "I liked our effort defensively especially in the middle part of the game. We also shot the ball well making eight three-pointers on 17 attempts.
"We've got a tough rest of the week with two more league games, both on the road."
The Warriors travel for their next two league games. They first take on Crean Lutheran in Irvine at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and play a 7:30 p.m. game Saturday at Whitney in Cerritos.
When glancing at the opening day schedule of the 2013 Sunset League boys' basketball race, Friday's game between Huntington Beach High and Fountain Valley looked to be the marquee matchup of the three.
The meeting had all the makings of a big game, as both teams had success during nonleague and tournament play. But at opening tip, one key ingredient was missing.
Fountain Valley got the win, comfortably, 72-60, over visiting Huntington. The Barons took the lead for good near the midway point of the first quarter, and steadily pulled away from there. They did so against an Oilers squad hit by the flu bug and that played the game without key starter Harley Ruder.
The Barons (13-4, 1-0) hustled up and down the court from opening tip to final buzzer, created turnovers and hit easy layups. They had four players score in double figures, and led by as many as 23 points.
"We attacked and moved the ball really well," Fountain Valley Coach Roger Holmes said. "We rebounded really well and that was a big concern coming into the game, having to go up against their height and athleticism. Our guys, though, were very active."
Fountain Valley closed out the half with a 17-7 run to open up a 40-26 advantage at the break. The Barons took a 59-41 lead into the fourth quarter and reached their largest lead of the game, 71-48, on a shot by Josh Armstrong with 2:54 to play.
Armstrong, a senior guard, finished with 23 points. Senior center Jackson Gatlin led all scorers with 25 points. He had 15 points by halftime which included a dunk during the Baron's 17-7 half-ending run. Senior forwards Joey Petersen and Tanner Trounce were the other two Barons in double figures with 14 and 10 points, respectively.
"When we get in the open court and share the ball like we did tonight, we're hard to guard," Holmes said. "We were pretty balanced [against the Oilers] and we hit the open passes which led to some easy baskets.
"It's a good win for us. It's got to be hard for [the Oilers]. They are coming off that Florida trip, have the flu bug, and cut off a huge piece of their pie without [Ruder] in the game. He's a load. Still, you can't take anything away from our guys and how they played."
Huntington Beach Coach Fabian Luna said Ruder, a senior forward, took an elbow to the head during tournament play earlier this month at the KSA Holiday Classic in Orlando, Fla. Luna held out Ruder against the Barons for "precautionary reasons."
Luna said that Ruder was cleared by doctors Wednesday and will rejoin the Oilers this week.
Ruder leads Huntington in scoring (19 points per game) and rebounding with seven per game.
"It's been a tough few days," Luna said of his team's illness, travel time from Florida to home, and playing without Ruder. "One of our coaches is sick in bed, I'm sick and we're just in bad shape right now. Our game plan got twisted from the very start."
Hot-handed Ryan Morrissey, a junior guard, was on target from three-point range, hitting six of eight attempts and led the Oilers (10-6, 0-1) in scoring with 18 points. Sophomore forward Grant Vis added 10 points.
At 7 p.m. Friday, Fountain Valley will play host to defending Sunset League champion Los Alamitos, and Huntington is home to Newport Harbor. At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, the Barons play at rival Edison and the Oilers travel to Los Alamitos.
Edison: The Chargers won an exciting Sunset League opener Friday when sophomore forward AJ Garrity scored on a layup at the buzzer for a 67-65 win at Newport Harbor.
Senior guard Josh Haar (five points) assisted Garrity's winning basket, sophomore guard Derek Molina had a team-high 19 points and sophomore guard Jake Haar hit four three-pointers and finished with 12 points for Edison (9-7, 1-0).
The Chargers travel for a 7 p.m. league game Friday at Marina.
Marina: The Vikings dropped their Sunset League opener, 53-29, at Los Alamitos Friday.
Marina (6-11, 0-1) was outshot by the Griffins, 53-30.
"We're not going to win very many games turning the ball over 20 times and giving up 12 offensive rebounds," Marina Coach Nick Racklin said. "I was happy with our halftime score (21-12). We defended well in the first half, but gave up 19 points in the third quarter. We held Los Alamitos top three players to a total of 25 points which I was pleased with.
The Vikings were coming off a 2-2 record, with "good wins," Racklin said, against Lakeside (44-42) and Diamond Bar (44-36) at the MaxPreps Holiday Classic in Palm Springs during the holiday break.
Marina plays host to Edison at 7 p.m. Friday.
Ocean View: The Seahawks, reigning champion of the Golden West League, got their league slate off to a start Wednesday against Santa Ana. The score from the game wasn't available at press time.
Ocean View plays its next league contest at 7 p.m. Friday at Segerstrom. The Seahawks also are on the road on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. league showdown at rival Westminster.