The No. 15 seed — out of 16 teams — in the CIF State Southern California Regional Division III playoffs all but guaranteed a road game in every round for the Fountain Valley High boys’ basketball team.
The Barons don’t mind. What it has done has allowed them to be road warriors.
“When a lot of teams, see us, they’re like who’s Fountain Valley?” Barons sophomore guard Aden Casarez said. “We’re coming in here to show them who we are. We’re getting our name out. It’s fun, coming in here taking everybody’s home. We play every game like this is our home, not theirs. We don’t care about the crowd, we don’t care about the outside noise.”
After knocking out No. 2-seeded Gardena on the road Tuesday, the Barons came back with another win away from home on Thursday night. This time the victim was No. 10 Los Angeles Price.
Fountain Valley’s historic season continues, as the Barons routed the Knights 71-47 in the quarterfinals.
Fountain Valley (21-9) stayed alive in its first regional playoff run in program history. The Barons will stay on the road Saturday at 6 p.m., when they play at No. 11 Burbank Providence in the semifinals. Providence upset No. 3 Oceanside El Camino 65-50 in another quarterfinal game Thursday.
Junior guard Jeremiah Davis had 26 points and 10 rebounds for Fountain Valley. Casarez added 17 points, including shooting four of five on three-pointers. Junior guard Preston Amarillo had nine points, and freshman guard Elijah Nelson added eight off the bench.
Fountain Valley turned a close game into a rout by scoring 29 points in the second quarter, enabling the Barons to take a 44-21 halftime advantage over the Knights (25-10).
“One thing we did take advantage of, and [Price] coach [Chans] Smyth is going to kill me for this, is that sometimes when you’re at home you relax a little bit,” Fountain Valley coach D’Cean Bryant said. “You shoot certain shots, and what happens is that you think those shots are going to go in. They relaxed a little bit, and our focus was up. Theirs just seemed to be down a little bit ... but that’s the advantage about being on the road. You have to lock in.”
Sophomore point guard Roddie Anderson had five points, seven rebounds and seven assists for Fountain Valley. The Barons led by as many as 30 points, at 56-26, after an Amarillo three-pointer in the third quarter. The sequence that led to that basket involved three quick swing passes, leading to an open look for Amarillo.
Fountain Valley seemed to benefit from the uptempo pace of the game, which highlighted the Barons’ speed and passing.
“It’s a different type of confidence,” Bryant said. “It’s a team confidence, it’s not individual. Aden Casarez has been playing well. Last game, he had two points, but he turns around and hits some big shots early to set the tempo. Everybody focuses on Jeremiah Davis, but Preston does what he does, and Roddie. I think that’s the thing that we do. That’s just how we build our confidence, and I think they have a ton of it right now, just mentally.”
Senior guard Julian Dixon led Price, the fourth-place team from the Harbor League and a CIF Southern Section Division 3 finalist, with 13 points. Senior guard Elijah Mark scored 12.
Fountain Valley will travel a bit further, 44 miles one-way, for Saturday’s game at Providence.
The Barons know the mentality they need.
“You’ve got to go into hostile environments and win games, and that’s based on trust and executing,” Bryant said. “Those things were big for us tonight.”
CIF State Southern California Regional Division III playoffs
Fountain Valley 71, Price 47
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Fountain Valley 15 – 29 – 18 – 9 — 71
Los Angeles Price 11 – 10 – 13 – 13 — 47
FV – Davis 26, Casarez 17, Amarillo 9, Nelson 8, Anderson 5, Kubas 4, Morris 2.
3-pt. goals – Casarez 4, Amarillo 1, Nelson 1.
Fouled out – None.
Technicals – Casarez.
P – Dixon 13, Mark 12, Lee 7, Nelson 5, Brewer 4, Humphreys 2, Wimberly 2, Williams 2.
3-pt. goals – Dixon 1, Nelson 1, Mark 1.
Fouled out – None.
Technicals – Williams.
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