Judging by the way the first week in the 2013 Sunset League boys' basketball race had gone, it was apparent that no game was a "gimmie" for any team.
Just ask Edison.
The Chargers played their third-straight league game that went to the wire Friday and, just as in the previous two games before, against Newport Harbor and Los Alamitos, the outcome tipped in their favor. This time, it was by a 48-44 score at Marina.
For Marina, it was another valiant effort that came up just short.
"I thought they out-executed us all game," Edison Coach Rich Boyce said of the Vikings. "We came out sluggish and [Marina] played well. " We're just glad to get out of here with a win."
The Marina game was the fifth in eight days for the Chargers.
The win also kept Edison (13-7, 3-0 in league) atop the Sunset League standings with Fountain Valley. The Chargers and Barons played Wednesday but the score, along with the outcome of other Wednesday games, wasn't available at press time.
The first half of the Sunset race comes to an end Friday.
Edison has learned to win the close ones. On Jan. 9, the Chargers scored a key league victory when it knocked off defending Sunset League champion Los Alamitos, 67-62. They opened league play Jan. 4 and needed a last-second layup to get past Newport Harbor, 67-65.
Marina, meanwhile, gave another league opponent a tough battle. On Jan. 9, the Vikings fought Huntington Beach to the end but suffered an eventual, 54-43 loss. The two setbacks left them 0-3 in league and 6-13 overall.
"I think our guys are tired of moral victories and they deserve a win," Marina Coach Nick Racklin said. "We had our chances tonight but [Edison] hit a couple of big threes there at the end. Credit them for getting out and hitting those threes, and it was bad for us to not get out there and defend those shots."
Sophomore guard Derek Molina led Edison with 14 points and senior guard Brae Ivey finished with 12 points.
Marina senior forward Casey Hayes led all scorers with 18 points. Sophomore guard Gabe Cooper scored 12 points.
In previous league action Jan. 9, Edison upended defending Sunset champion Los Alamitos, 67-62, and Marina dropped a 54-43 game at Huntington Beach.
In Edison's victory over the Griffins, Ivey led all scorers with 25 points. Molina posted 16 points and senior guard Brodie Barton scored 12 points.
Marina was in a tight game with Huntington before the Oilers started to gain some distance in the third quarter in an eventual, 54-43 loss. Senior forward Hayden Winks scored a game-high 20 points for the Vikings.
Edison closes out the first half of league play with a 7 p.m. game Friday at Huntington Beach. Marina is in the midst of a five-game homestand and plays host to Fountain Valley, also at 7 p.m Friday.
Fountain Valley: The Barons remained undefeated in league play by pulling away in the second half against Los Alamitos to come away with a 59-47 victory over the visiting Griffins Friday.
Fountain Valley (15-4, 3-0), led, 22-21, at the half. Los Alamitos (1-2 in league) went in front, 35-30, in the third quarter, but the Barons closed out the quarter with a 13-0 run to go in front for good.
"It was a very physical game, and a game of two halves," Fountain Valley Coach Roger Holmes said. "[Los Alamitos] did a good job of controlling things in the first half, but our guys came alive in the third quarter."
Senior center Jackson Gatlin scored 10 points and hauled in 26 rebounds which tied the program's single-game record. Duane Diffie originally set the mark with 26 rebounds in a game during the 1967-68 season, Holmes said.
Senior guard Josh Armstrong led the scoring with 23 points to go with eight assists. Senior forward Tanner Trounce had eight points and senior forward Joey Petersen added eight points.
In a league game Jan. 9, Fountain Valley got off to a slow start at Newport Harbor, rallied to take a 12-point lead in the third quarter, but then had to hold off a fourth-quarter rally by the host Sailors to earn a 72-68 victory. Gatlin, who finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds with five blocked shots, went four for four from the foul line in the final minute to secure the win.
Armstrong led the scoring with 26 points and had nine assists. Trounce hit four three-pointers and finished with 13 points, Petersen scored six points and hauled in 17 rebounds, and senior guard Danny Chamaa had eight points.
Fountain Valley plays at Marina at 7 p.m. Friday.
Huntington Beach: The Oilers won their second straight Sunset League game by winning, 77-62, against visiting Newport Harbor Friday. Senior guard Andrew TenBrink hit four three-point shots and scored a game-high 28 points. Senior forward Harley Ruder, who returned from injury to the Huntington lineup but played limited minutes, scored 17 points and junior guard Ryan Morrisey also hit four three-pointers and had 16 points.
The win put Huntington at 2-1 in league and 12-6 overall.
Newport Harbor, which had lost its first two league games to Edison and Fountain Valley by a total of six points, fell to 0-3 in league and 9-10 overall.
"Friday got us back on track playing at where I thought we were before the Christmas break," Huntington Coach Fabian Luna said. "The rotation we have been using was finally back in place for the first time in league, so, it created a comfort level that we have not had lately."
Huntington started the week with a 54-43 win Jan. 9 against visiting Marina. Senior guard Andrew TenBrink and sophomore forward Grant Vis both had 17 points for the Oilers who outscored the Vikings by nine points in the second half.
Huntington plays host to Edison at 7 p.m. Friday. The Oilers on Monday are home to Ocean View for a 6 p.m. nonleague game in what is known as the MLK Day Challenge.
"It has been a positive experience for both programs and the community," Luna said of the MLK Day Challenge. "The kids really enjoy competing against their friends and playing a team of Ocean View's caliber is always beneficial, win or lose. Just a great game for the community to enjoy annually."
Brethren Christian: The Warriors cruised to a pair of Academy League road victories in the past week. First, they won, 65-29, at Crean Lutheran, then followed that win, with a 58-46 decision over Whitney.
Senior center Mamadou Ndiaye matched 18 points with 18 rebounds, junior guard Caleb Keller contributed 18 points and sophomore guard Brandon Bryson had 13 assists, in the Jan. 9 win at Crean Lutheran in Irvine.
In Saturday's win over Whitney of Cerritos, Ndiaye played only 12 minutes, but posted 24 points.
The two wins put BC, which played three league games over a five-day period, in first place at 3-0, and 13-3 overall.
"After a long week, we survived an ugly road game on Saturday with another good defensive effort and offensive determination," BC Coach Jon Bahnsen said of the Whitney win.
The Warriors again hit the road for their next league contest, an 8 p.m. date Friday with St. Margaret's, also 3-0 in league, at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa. On Saturday, they take on California Lutheran, the top-ranked team in CIF Southern Section Division 6, as part of the BC's 11th annual Small School Showcase at Liberty Christian School in Huntington Beach.
CIF Southern Section Boys' Basketball Rankings
Division 1A: Huntington Beach, No. 11; Edison, No. 14.
Division 3A: Ocean View, No. 4.
Division 5AA: Brethren Christian, No. 4.