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COAST CHRISTMAS TOURNAMENT : Estancia Guard Was King for One Night in Victory

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Russell King, a scrawny reserve guard, bounced up and down at the end. Saturday was his night.

All the 5-foot-9, 140-pound senior had done was pump a little life into the Estancia basketball team, then clinch a 61-59 victory over Huntington Beach in the semifinals of the Coast Christmas Classic in Costa Mesa.

“What a great quarter,” King said. “What a great game. Wow.”

King had just put the Eagles in Monday’s final against Tustin with a 10-point fourth quarter that helped erase a nine-point deficit. He scored eight points in the final three minutes, two three-pointers and two free throws with 13 seconds left.

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Behind King, the Eagles overcame a physical Oiler team, which controlled much of the game. Huntington Beach led, 49-40, with 4 minutes 34 seconds left, then watched the lead slip away under a barrage of three-pointers.

King, who scored 12 points, made the first, cutting the deficit to five. His second, with 2:22 left, gave the Eagles a 56-54 lead.

Estancia made 10 three-pointers in the game and was seven of 11 in the second half.

Joe Edson had four three-pointers and finished with 14 points. Even center Matt Fuerbringer got into the act, hitting a three-pointer from the top of the key in the third quarter.

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“Three points, what a great rule,” Coach Tim O’Brien said.

The Eagles (9-3) relied on the long-range stuff out of necessity. With the Oilers playing a tight zone, there was nothing else to do.

Huntington Beach (7-5) was determined to keep Fuerbringer, a 6-7 senior, from dominating the game. The Oilers double- and triple-teamed him most of the night, smothering him with its zone defense.

In fact, the first time Fuerbringer touched the ball, four Oilers surrounded him.

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The ploy worked for the most part. Fuerbringer, who averages 20 points per game, didn’t dominate, but he did have 15 points, five steals, three blocks and seven rebounds.

“That’s something that’s going to happen,” O’Brien said. “Tonight, we got hot, but we could have just as easily gone cold.”

The last team that packed in its defense against the Eagles was Bishop Amat. Estancia made 12 three-pointers and breezed to victory.

This time, it didn’t come as easy. Estancia made only nine of 29 shots in the first half and trailed by 16 points.

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In the other semifinal game:

Tustin 53, Long Beach Jordan 49--Derek Roche scored 20 points as the Tillers defeated the defending Southern Section Division I-AA champions. Gentry Moore made five of six free trhows in the final quarter to clinch the victory.

In a consolation game:

Newport Harbor 76, Hanford 75--Justin McIntee set a tournament record with 43 points to lead the Sailors. He broke the record of 42 points set last season by Jabarl Anderson of Los Angeles Banning.

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