Jeremiah Davis kept ascending and ascending.
The Fountain Valley High boys’ basketball junior guard rose up to throw down a breakaway dunk with 20 seconds left, energizing the home fans.
“I felt good,” Davis said. “It was a little something to get the crowd hyped. I wanted to get one all game, and last game too. I had to get it.”
The play of Fountain Valley did plenty to energize the crowd, too. The Barons as a team have now risen to heights unseen in the program in 25 years.
Davis’ dunk helped No. 3-seeded Fountain Valley cap a 69-55 home win over Temple City on Friday night in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 3A playoffs.
Fountain Valley (18-8) advanced to the CIF quarterfinals for the first time since making it in Division 1A in 1995. The Barons have never made the CIF semifinals in boys’ basketball, losing their previous three quarterfinal appearances.
Coach D’Cean Bryant’s Barons will try for history on Tuesday, when they play at Yorba Linda in a Division 3A quarterfinal game. Yorba Linda beat Menifee Heritage 58-45 in another second-round game.
“Our hard work is paying off right now,” Davis said. “I feel very happy, excited. We just want to keep going ... It feels really great to bring back what happened a long time ago.”
Davis had a game-high 23 points, 17 rebounds and six steals for Fountain Valley, which had to scrap to a win against Rio Hondo League runner-up Temple City (19-10). The Rams came out hot shooting three-pointers and led by as many as 10 points in the first half.
Temple City senior guards Nathan Kuoch and Tag Falk each made five three-pointers in the game. They finished with 17 points and 16 points respectively.
The Rams ended up with 14 made triples in the game, compared to three for Fountain Valley.
“They were just hitting their shots, like they were supposed to,” Davis said. “They just kept hitting it, kept shooting it. They were cutting harder than us, and we weren’t communicating that well. We made adjustments and we played way better defense [late in the game].”
Fountain Valley took its first lead since early in the first quarter late in the third, as Davis made a pair of free throws. The Barons took a tenuous 42-41 advantage into the fourth quarter before erupting for 27 points in the final eight minutes.
Barons sophomore guard Aden Casarez had 10 of his 13 points in the final frame, including a pair of three-pointers. Junior guard John Kubas scored five points in the fourth quarter for the Barons, who went on a 13-0 run after Falk’s last three-pointer tied the score at 44-44 early in the quarter.
The spurt included five straight points by Casarez, before Davis made the extra pass to Kubas in the corner for a three-pointer. Kubas added a layup before Casarez made another three-pointer.
“During practice, we always practice on that, the tempo,” Davis said. “Every time the game gets close like that, we’ve got to keep going. Coach gets on us about that, so it’s like conditioning all the time. We’re ready for it, especially at times like that.”
Junior guard Preston Amarillo added 16 points and eight rebounds for Fountain Valley.
CIF Southern Section Division 3A Playoffs
Fountain Valley 69, Temple City 55
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Temple City 13 – 18 – 10 – 14 — 55
Fountain Valley 11 – 18 – 13 – 27 — 69
TC – Kuoch 17, Falk 16, Lo 10, Torimaru 9, Khaw 3.
3-pt. goals – Kuoch 5, Falk 5, Torimaru 3, Khaw 1.
Fouled out – Falk.
Technicals – None.
FV – Davis 23, Amarillo 16, Casarez 13, Kubas 9, Anderson 3, Morris 3, Nelson 2.
3-pt. goals – Casarez 2, Kubas 1.
Fouled out – Amarillo.
Technicals – None.
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