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Fountain Valley boys’ basketball clinches share of first league title in eight years

Fountain Valley's Roddie Anderson sinks a running jumper during a Wave League basketball game against Marina on Friday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

By any metric, the Fountain Valley High School boys’ basketball team had a breakthrough season in 2019-20.

The Barons advanced to the CIF semifinals for the first time in program history, before making the semifinals of the CIF State Southern California Regional Division III playoffs — as the No. 15 seed.

Prior to that run, however, Fountain Valley had to deal with the disappointment of not winning the Wave League. That honor went to Laguna Beach.

“That was one of our things, coming back this year,” coach D’Cean Bryant said. “Although it was a historic run, we still haven’t won league. We’ve never won a tournament, so what have we truly won?”

Fountain Valley, which brought back nearly its whole lineup from last year, was able to check another item off the checklist after Friday night.

Junior point guard Roddie Anderson scored 19 points as the Barons topped visiting Marina, 71-52, clinching at least a share of the Wave League title.

“We’re coming in with a chip on our shoulder,” Anderson said. “We didn’t win league last year, and we want that title this year. And we don’t want to share it with anyone; we’re greedy.”

Fountain Valley's Aden Casarez (1) reacts after sinking a three-point basket on Friday night.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

It’s the first league title since 2013 for Fountain Valley (10-2, 4-0 in league). With two league games remaining, the Barons can claim it outright with a victory over Corona del Mar on Tuesday.

Marina (9-7, 2-2) fell into a second-place tie with Huntington Beach. The Vikings host the Oilers on Tuesday in another crucial game to help determine the league’s second automatic bid into the postseason.

Junior guard Aden Casarez scored 15 points, all on five three-pointers, for the Barons on Friday. Sophomore guard J.J. Gray added 10 points off the bench, including two makes from downtown himself.

Sophomore guard Macarhy Morris scored eight points and seniors Preston Amarillo and Jeremiah Davis each scored six points apiece in a well-rounded effort for Fountain Valley, ranked No. 8 in CIF Southern Section 2AA.

It was the second big win in three nights for the Barons, who beat Laguna Beach 49-44 in a Sunset Conference crossover game Wednesday night behind 26 points from Anderson. The Breakers, currently ranked ahead of Fountain Valley at No. 3 in Division 2AA, moved up from the Wave League to the Surf League this season.

Marina's AJ Robinson (42) puts up a floater between two Fountain Valley defenders for a basket on Friday night.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

“Our thing all year has been one game at a time, be in the moment and be intentional about what we’re doing,” Bryant said. “I think we’ve done that so far. We had a little dip where we weren’t sure about identities … Guys were kind of going rogue, and that’s not what we wanted. We had a talk the other day about buying into your identity, buying into your role, and I think guys are starting to do that.”

Fountain Valley, which beat Marina 71-66 in the teams’ first league meeting three weeks earlier, pulled away from the Vikings in the second half Friday.

Marina, ranked No. 5 in Division 3A, tried to rally. Back-to-back three-pointers by Robert Aguirre and Eric Hodgkins pulled the Vikings within 43-39 with 2:30 remaining in the third quarter. Hodgkins led the visitors with 17 points, while A.J. Robinson scored 10.

Fountain Valley immediately responded. Casarez made a deep three-pointer, then Gray’s put-back gave the Barons a nine-point lead headed into the fourth quarter.

The plays were the start of a 17-5 run, capped by Davis’ steal and slam dunk midway through the fourth quarter.

Fountain Valley's Jeremiah Davis tries to run between two Marina defenders and is fouled in the process on Friday night.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Marina coach Nick Racklin, who started three juniors and a sophomore, said his team has been close late in several Sunset Conference games but unable to finish.

“That’s kind of been our M.O. a little bit,” Racklin said. “We’re battling. Tonight got away from us a little bit in the third quarter. Just two or three plays in a row in the third, and we just sunk.”

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Wave League

Fountain Valley 71, Marina 52

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Marina 13 – 12 – 14 – 13 — 52

FV 17 – 17 – 14 – 23 — 71

M – Hodgkins 17, Robinson 10, Magdangal 8, Aguirre 7, Fronek 6, Puskas 2, Austin 2.

3-pt. goals – Hodgkins 2, Aguirre 1.

Fouled out – None.

Technicals – None.

FV – Anderson 19, Casarez 15, Gray 10, Morris 8, Davis 6, Amarillo 6, Bryson 4, Nelson 3.

3-pt. goals – Casarez 5, Gray 2.

Fouled out – None.

Technicals – Anderson.

::

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