HUNTINGTON BEACH — At one point in the 2012-13 season, the Ocean View boys' basketball team sported a 7-5 record.
On Friday , the Seahawks will play in the CIF Southern Section Division 3A semifinals.
Ocean View, the No. 4 seed, reserved a spot in the 3A Final Four by fending off a late rally by No. 5-seed Northwood for a 68-59 home-court victory Tuesday. The win sends the Seahawks, who have won 16 of their last 17 games, on to a 7 p.m. Friday matchup at top-ranked Bellflower St. John Bosco.
The Seahawks (23-6) came out strong Tuesday. They shot well and played tenacious defense, and turned an early, 6-3 deficit, into a 20-12 lead by the end of the first quarter. They extended their lead to 41-26 by halftime.
"I was really proud of the way we came out and played," Ocean View Coach Tim Walsh said. "We've been preaching about helping each other out, defending the basket, and I thought we did that very well tonight. In the second half, we looked a little tired at times and they were able to break us down a bit with penetration. They put up an unbelievable fight."
Ocean View was one of four local prep boys' basketball teams competing in playoff games at home Tuesday. In two Division 1A second-round contests, both Edison and Huntington Beach were eliminated from postseason play. The Chargers fell, 63-51, to Crescenta Valley, and the Oilers were upended, 63-53, by Valencia West Ranch. In a Division 5AA semifinal, Brethren Christian was eliminated by Sherman Oaks Buckley, 75-51.
Ocean View took its largest lead of the game, 48-29, on a basket by sophomore guard Tyler Burch off a turnover created by senior forward Reo Washington, less than three minutes into the second half. The Seahawks, however, went scoreless the final 5:18 of the third quarter but still took a 48-37 lead into the final eight minutes.
Pacific Coast League champion Northwood mounted a comeback in the fourth quarter. The Timberwolves slowly chipped away at their deficit and drew to within three points on three occasions in the final 3:39 of the game. The final time came at 62-59 on a layup by senior guard Fernando Rivas with 59 seconds remaining.
As it had started the game, Ocean View closed strong. Junior guard Dillon Reise picked up a loose ball along the baseline and dropped in an eight-foot jumper to make it 64-59. The Seahawks got the ball back with 31.8 seconds left after a turnover by the Timberwolves, and Burch and Reise went on to hit two free throws each in the final 25.7 seconds left, to seal the win.
Kendall Small had another sensational game for Ocean View. Hitting several put-back shots and driving layups, creating turnovers on defense and crashing the boards at both ends of the floor, Small nearly completed a triple-double. He led all scorers with 27 points, pulled in 13 rebounds, seven on the offensive glass, and had nine steals to go with two assists and a blocked shot.
"I'm running out of ways to describe Kendall," Walsh said of the 15-year-old sophomore guard. "When the game gets tougher, the challenge greater, he's better. He embraces the challenge."
Burch finished with 13 points and had three steals, Reise had 12 points and seven rebounds, and senior guard Josh Mishler scored four points to go with six assists and two steals.
"We made the big plays when we needed to," Walsh said. "Tyler [Burch] hit that really big shot and Dillon [Reise] had a big shot from the corner. When you make plays that you need to when the game is on the line, that's special."
Five Seahawks scored in double figures led by Small's game-high 28 points, in an 88-68 second-round win Friday at Barstow (Desert Sky League at-large). Reise scored 19 points, Burch 18 points, Mishler 13 points and junior guard Jelani Jackson scored 10 points.
Small and Reise scored 26 and 25 points, respectively, Feb. 13 in Ocean View's 78-53 first-round win over Laguna Hills (Sea View League at-large).
Now, the Golden West League champs take a 10-game win streak into their showdown with St. John Bosco.
The Braves, who finished runner-up in the Trinity League to Mater Dei, the top-ranked team in Division 1AA, routed No. 8-seed Cathedral, 82-55, in another quarterfinal game Tuesday.
St. John Bosco (22-6) also has two other blowout playoff wins against Buena Park (78-35) and Burroughs Ridgecrest (91-46).
"We're excited for the challenge," Walsh said of the semifinal game. "They are the top dog and a really good basketball team. They haven't been challenged yet in the playoffs, but we hope to give them a real challenge Friday."
Crescenta Valley 63, Edison 51: The No. 4-seed Falcons (Pacific League No. 2) advanced to the division quarterfinals by knocking off the No. 13-seed Chargers at Edison.
Sophomore guard Brae Ivey and sophomore forward AJ Garrity both scored 15 points for Edison which tied for second place in the Sunset League and finished 17-12 overall.
In a first-round game Friday, Edison overcame a four-point halftime deficit to knock off visiting Walnut (Hacienda League No. 4), 64-61.
Ivey scored a game-high 24 points, Garrity scored 16 points and sophomore guard Derek Molina scored 11 points.
Edison Coach Rich Boyce said his team, as it had done all season, "competed to the final buzzer," Tuesday.
"We always tell the kids that we never rebuild, we reload, so while everyone thought we were down, playing hard kept us playing at a high level," he said. "[It was] a great season with great kids."
West Ranch 63, Huntington Beach 53: The visiting Wildcats outscored the Oilers, 18-8, in the fourth quarter to come away with a win that put the No. 3-seed Foothill League champion into Friday's quarterfinals.
Senior guard Andrew TenBrink led Huntington, 17-11 and an at-large entry from the Sunset League, with 14 points and junior guard Mason Luna scored 12 points.
The Oilers fought back from a 13-point halftime deficit to forge a tie through three quarters. West Ranch hit four of six three-pointers during the fourth quarter and was able to pull out the win.
Huntington Coach Fabian Luna has been high on a senior-driven West Ranch team all season. The Wildcats took advantage of a slow start by the Oilers to take an early lead.
"They are very good, and I said from the start of the year that they were the team to beat in our division," he said of the Wildcats. "I would say they are the odds on favorite to win it all.
"West Ranch really overwhelmed us with their speed and aggressive defense. But, we came out at halftime and played inspired basketball. I saw that pride and passion you need as a team, to compete at the highest level. We fought back from 13 down at half to tie the game. We expended so much energy that I think we ran out of gas, combined with West Ranch making four of their threes during the fourth quarter. It was a one possession game with three minutes left, we just couldn't get over the hump. But, that's a credit to them. They have a ton of experience, [are] senior-heavy, deep, and are extremely talented."
Huntington opened the playoffs Friday with a 53-46 win at Del Rio League co-champion Pico Rivera El Rancho. Senior forward Harley Ruder led all scorers with 15 points, junior guard Ryan Morrissey scored 12 points and TenBrink scored 10 points.
Buckley 75, Brethren Christian 51: The host and No. 5-seed Warriors had their 18-game win streak halted by the No. 4-seed Griffins (22-6) in a semifinal game at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa.
Senior 7-foot-5 center Mamadou Ndiaye poured in a game-high 34 points and blocked eight shots for Academy League champion BC, which ended the year 24-4.
"We did not defend or stop the ball in transition well tonight which led to too many easy baskets," BC Coach Jon Bahnsen said. "The loss doesn't take away from a great season where the team earned a fifth-straight league title and set a school record with 18 straight wins."
In a quarterfinal game played Friday, BC won, 65-50, at Pasadena Poly. Ndiaye had a game-best 24 points and junior guard Caleb Keller scored 12 points.
Keller scored a game-high 27 points Feb. 13 when the Warriors started postseason play with an 80-28 rout of San Bernardino Public Safety Academy.
Inglewood 72, Fountain Valley 43: The host Barons saw their Sunset League championship season come to an end Friday in a first-round loss to the No. 12-seed Sentinels (17-9, Ocean League No. 2) who won the Division 2AA title a year ago.
Senior guard Josh Armstrong led all scorers with 16 points, senior center Jackson Gatlin scored 12 points, senior forward Joey Petersen eight points and senior forward Tanner Trounce had seven points for Fountain Valley, which ended the year 20-7.
"It was a big year for Fountain Valley," said Roger Holmes, who completed his third year as head coach at his alma mater. "We won 16 games in that first year, and no Fountain Valley team had won more than 10 games in a season in the seven previous years. We won 17 games a year ago, and won a [CIF] playoff game. This year, we won 20 games and won the Sunset League championship. That game [against Inglewood] has nothing to do with this year. That one was predictable.
"Our senior group worked really hard and adapted to our philosophy and style. They were sophomores when we got here and they really came together as a group, and won a league championship."