HUNTINGTON BEACH — With the regular season coming down to its final week, the Ocean View boys' basketball team faced yet another challenger Friday that was looking to knock the Seahawks off the top perch in the Golden West League standings.
Although the visiting Westminster Lions gave it their best shot, it wasn't enough to do the job.
Ocean View overcame a slow start and feisty Westminster by finishing fast to grab a 57-42 victory that took the Seahawks to 8-0 in league play. The win kept the Seahawks alone in the top spot, one game ahead of second-place Loara with two games to play.
The loss knocked Westminster out of title contention with a 5-3 record.
"They are ready to play us every time," Ocean View Coach Tim Walsh said of the Lions. "Jesse [Miramontez] does a great job preparing his team, and they were ready tonight."
Ocean View, ranked No. 4 in CIF Southern Section Division 3-A, held a narrow, 43-39 lead with 5:30 left to play when Seahawks sophomore guard Kendall Small missed two free throws. Small, however, came up with a key steal near midcourt seconds later, drove the lane and was fouled going to the basket by Westminster center Myron Aiava. This time, he sank his two attempts to push the lead to 45-39.
The foul shots triggered a quick, 7-0 run by the Seahawks that took the lead to 50-39 with 3:10 left. After his free throws, Small came up with another big defensive stop when he stepped in to alter a shot by Aiava, who lost the ball in midair. The Seahawks grabbed the loose ball and at the other end of the floor, junior forward Dillon Reise drained a three-pointer.
Less than a minute later, Ocean View sophomore guard Tyler Burch was fouled under the Ocean View basket by Aiava, who fouled out on the play. Burch sank his two free throws for an 11-point cushion.
The Seahawks (17-6 overall) outscored the Lions, 14-3, to end the game. Small scored eight of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, getting several of his points on twisting lay-ups.
"The fourth quarter is Kendall's time," Walsh said. "He's extremely competitive and he took over for us. And he's just a sophomore.
"I thought he did a great job and Nathan Kosai came off the bench and hit some enormous three-pointers for us in the first half."
The start to the game was reminiscent of the team's first meeting on Jan. 16, a night Ocean View left Westminster with a 52-48 win. The Seahawks didn't take their first lead of the game Friday until 2:25 remained in the first half. They went in front, 20-18, when Reise scored off a nice pass inside by senior guard Josh Mishler. Small then had a steal and hit a layup. The two plays completed a 10-0 run and gave the Seahawks a 25-18 advantage with 1:35 left in the half.
Ocean View never trailed after Reise's basket. The Seahawks led, 27-23, at the half.
Westminster (11-12) started strong. The Lions scored the first six points of the game, all coming on layups by Aiava. They led, 10-5, after the first quarter and held their last lead at 18-15 on a layup by senior guard Paul Peña four minutes into the second quarter.
Reise hit four three-pointers and finished with 15 points. Burch had nine points and Kosai, who hit two, three-pointers in the second quarter, had six points.
Ocean View has little time to savor Friday's win over the Lions. In less than 12 hours, the Seahawks will play Saturday at the Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei High. They take on the Durango Trailblazers of Las Vegas at 10:30 a.m.
"It's a tough turnaround, but we want to be ready and come out and battle tomorrow," Walsh said of the early tip time. "Durango likes to play a fast, up-and-down game, and we like that pace, too. We need to get some rest tonight so we can be ready to go in the morning."
Fountain Valley 79, Los Alamitos 72 (2 OT): The Barons went on the road for a critical showdown against the Griffins and earned a thrilling victory that gave them a share of the Sunset League title.
Fountain Valley (19-5, 7-1) won the Sunset title for the first time since 1995. Los Alamitos, who would have tied the Barons for first place with a win, slipped to 5-3 in league and 16-9 overall.
"It's been a long time," Fountain Valley Coach Roger Holmes said. "This is a senior-laden team and our expectations of them were high. They came through with a big game tonight before a packed gym that was crazy."
Los Alamitos took a one-point lead with six seconds left in regulation. On a play designed to get the ball to senior guard Josh Armstrong, the Barons did just that, and Armstrong was fouled going to the basket with 1.6 seconds left. He sank the first free throw to tie the score, but missed the second. The teams headed to overtime tied, 57-57.
In the second overtime, Fountain Valley got off to a 9-0 start to take control.
Armstrong scored 29 points, getting 22 of them in the second half and overtime periods.
Edison 66, Marina 62 (2 OT): In another double-overtime thriller, the Chargers (15-10, 5-3) outscored the visiting Vikings, 8-4, in the second OT, to complete a league sweep of their city rival.
Sophomore guard Brae Ivey scored a game-high 20 points to lead four Chargers in double figures. Senior center Trenton Aschoff had 11 points and sophomore forward AJ Garrity and sophomore guard Derek Molina both scored 10 points.
Junior guard Derek Mallard scored 17 points, senior forward Hayden Winks scored 15 points and senior forward Casey Hayes had 13 points for Marina (7-17, 1-7).
Newport Harbor 63, Huntington Beach 60: The Oilers fell behind host Newport by 10 points at halftime, but couldn't overcome the deficit in losing their second league game this week.
Senior guard Andrew TenBrink scored 23 points and senior forward Harley Ruder added 13 points to lead Huntington (15-9, 4-4).
Brethren Christian 50, Servite 34: The Warriors held the Friars to 13 points in the second half and pulled away to register their 19th victory of the year in a game played at Mater Dei High.
Senior center Mamadou Ndiaye netted a game-high 34 points as BC, ranked No. 4 in Division 5-AA, improved to 19-3 overall. Ndiaye scored a career-high 45 points Tuesday in an Academy League win over Crean Lutheran.
The Warriors outscored Servite, ranked No. 10 in Division 3-AAA, 29-13, in the second half.