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Fountain Valley girls’ basketball rallies past upset-minded Newport Harbor in overtime

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Fountain Valley’s Margaret Tengan (12) attempts to score against Newport Harbor during the first half in a Wave League game on Saturday.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Fountain Valley High girls’ basketball coach Marianne Karp took note when her team appeared in the paper for all the right reasons after a game they played no part in.

Speaking after a win at Corona del Mar in a Surf League opener on Thursday night, Huntington Beach coach Russell McClurg said losing to the Barons in a Sunset Conference crossover game on Jan. 7 had “put a thorn in [the Oilers’] side.”

Upset losses happen, and Karp was hoping to avoid one at Newport Harbor in an early Wave League game on Saturday. She made her point by distributing the quote from a Huntington Beach team that was clearly motivated after what it had viewed as a slip-up.

“You can never have a letdown,” Karp said of her message to her team. “You can never underestimate a team, and if we do that, the outcome of this will probably be what you don’t want.

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“I took a picture of it. I highlighted it. I sent it in our group chat, and I said, ‘You guys, [if] you underestimate them, this is their house.’”

All the mental preparation that Karp had provided nearly went for naught, but the Barons were able to rally from an 11-point deficit in the second half on Saturday.

Madison Suekawa had 13 points, seven rebounds and three steals to lead Fountain Valley to a 53-52 victory over Newport Harbor in overtime.

The sophomore guard scored 11 points after halftime, at which point Fountain Valley trailed 27-18.

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“Our coach always says that pressure is a privilege,” Suekawa said. “Just to be under this pressure, then have a close game and come back is great.”

Margaret Tengan had 12 points, four rebounds and three steals for the Barons (13-11, 2-0 in league). Zoe Ziegler added 10 points, eight rebounds, three blocked shots and three steals.

Karp applauded her players for keeping their composure while playing from behind, but the Barons still recognized that they had, in fact, taken an opponent for granted.

“She was really proud of us, but she is mad that we kind of came in thinking that we were going to win,” Kat Luu said of Karp. “We were too confident.”

Luu finished with seven points, six assists and five rebounds.

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Fountain Valley’s Audrey Tengan, left, and Zoe Ziegler, second from right, battle for the ball against Newport Harbor’s Cydney Jover, second from left, and Chloe Swanson, right, during the first half in a Wave League game on Saturday.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Against a post-oriented Newport Harbor team, Fountain Valley played scrappy defense, compiling 13 steals. Several came underneath the basket, with the Barons’ guards ready to knock the ball away when the Sailors brought it down.

“We kind of practice that with [6-foot-4] Zoe [Ziegler], so they’re used to kind of getting in there,” Karp said. “We talk about, ‘Don’t bring it down to the wee ones.’ That makes everyone laugh, but they remember it when you say something that’s weird like that.”

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Newport Harbor executed its offense well in the first half, connecting on a number of open looks on the baseline. As usual, the Sailors (10-12, 0-2) were strong on the glass, too.

Emma Fults had 12 points, 14 rebounds and four assists to lead the Sailors. Willa Rath added 10 points and 18 rebounds. Chloe Swanson provided six points and eight rebounds. Guards Cydney Jover and Genevieve Perry each scored eight points.

Newport Harbor has lost seven in a row, and Sailors coach Jillian Angell said that it is frustrating for her team when the close games do not go their way. The Sailors also had an overtime loss against Godinez in the Savanna Tournament on Dec. 28.

“It’s always harder to lose that game by one point in overtime than it is to get smacked by 20,” Angell said. “You go thinking, ‘If I had made that one free throw. If I had made that one shot.’

“It hurts right now, since we started off the season 4-0, and now, we haven’t been able to get a win in almost a month.”

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Newport Harbor’s Emma Fults (55) shoots against Fountain Valley’s Zoe Ziegler (10) during the first half in a Wave League game on Saturday.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Wave League

Fountain Valley 53, Newport Harbor 52 (OT)

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Fountain Valley 7 – 11 – 19 – 9 – 7 – 53

Newport Harbor 12 – 15 – 12 – 7 – 6 – 52

FV – Suekawa 13, M. Tengan 12, Ziegler 10, A. Tengan 8, Luu 7, Sagon 2, Shimizu 1.

3-pt. goals – M. Tengan 3, A. Tengan 2, Suekawa 1, Luu 1.

Fouled out – Sagon.

Technicals – None.

NH – Fults 12, Rath 10, Jover 8, Perry 8, Swanson 6, Muller 4, Coatsworth 4.

3-pt. goals – Perry 1.

Fouled out – None.

Technicals – None.

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