Marina boys’ basketball in first after big win over Fountain Valley
Underestimated and having a long memory, the Marina High School boys’ basketball team was locked and loaded with all sorts of motivation for a pivotal contest in the Wave League race on Tuesday night.
Eric Hodgkins scored a team-high 20 points to lead the scrappy Vikings to a 68-50 win over Fountain Valley at home, giving Marina sole possession of first place through the first half of league play.
The senior shooting guard, who drained four three-pointers on the evening, is one of two players on Marina (17-6, 3-0 in the Wave League) who played on varsity as a freshman. It was evident that Hodgkins had marked the Fountain Valley games on his calendar.
“It’s intense,” Hodgkins said. “I think on our end, we definitely look at them as rivals. I think that we feel disrespected by them, just because we’ve been simply not as good as them since probably my freshman year. I’ve only beat them once before tonight in my whole career, so I definitely look at it as a game that I want to win as bad as any other game. So I would definitely call it a rivalry.”
Fountain Valley (7-8, 2-1) plays host to Marina on Friday at 7 p.m. Both teams were 2-0 in the Wave League entering Tuesday’s tilt.
The Vikings advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division 3A championship game during the pandemic-revised schedule seven months ago, losing the final to visiting Glendora 53-50. Marina coach Nick Racklin said his team is still able to play with a chip on its shoulder.
“We got 11 guys, and they’re 11 best friends, and when we walk into a gym, people discount us immediately based on our size and how we look,” Racklin said. “They don’t like that, and they take that to heart. People have called us ‘small ball’ and ‘three-point shooters.’
“We finished at the rim tonight, so they want to prove that we’re not just a little three-point-shooting team. We’re a good basketball team.”
Racklin scouted the Barons over several games and hoped his team could set the tone defensively by taking charges. The Vikings were able to draw two such offensive fouls in the first 39 seconds of the game.
Marina got four three-pointers — from Kylle Magdangal, Robert Aguirre, Bohdi Armstrong and Hodgkins — to take a 16-10 lead after the first quarter.
After falling behind 31-16, Fountain Valley used a combination of defensive pressure and athleticism to close the gap, using a pair of thunderous transition dunks from Roddie Anderson and Jeremiah Whitmore to cut the deficit to 31-22 going into the half.
Fountain Valley rallied to within six points three times in the second half — the last occurrence at 40-34 with 2:05 to go in the third quarter — but a 24-point fourth quarter for the Vikings kept the Barons at bay.
“It happens every game,” senior forward Kenji Duremdes said of his team’s response to the Barons’ run. “We got back and we talked about it at halftime, and we went back and came [out] stronger, and we ran consistent defense.”
Duremdes had 14 points and seven rebounds for the Vikings. Magdangal added 13 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals, Aguirre scored 11 points, and Armstrong had six points on a pair of three-pointers. Jackson Drenth had four points.
Anderson led all scorers with 22 points for Fountain Valley, which also received 13 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots from Carter Bryant. JJ Gray added nine points and four steals.
Fountain Valley coach D’Cean Bryant had an extended conversation with his team following the game, after which he said the Barons were not locked in and did not execute the game plan. He tipped his cap to Racklin, whom he said he had noticed at a number of the Barons’ games.
“He did his job,” Bryant said. “… It was just an effort game, and again, they made their shots and ran their stuff. We didn’t listen to our game plan, so that’s what happens when you get off track and try to go rogue on both sides. It just doesn’t work out.”
Marina 68, Fountain Valley 50
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Fountain Valley 10 – 12 – 14 – 14 — 50
Marina 16 – 15 – 13 – 24 — 68
FV — Anderson 22, Bryant 13, Gray 9, Whitmore 4, Owens 2.
3-pt. goals — Gray 1.
Fouled out — None.
Technicals — None.
M — Hodgkins 20, Duremdes 14, Magdangal 13, Aguirre 11, Armstrong 6, Drenth 4.
3-pt. goals — Hodgkins 4, Aguirre 2, Armstrong 2, Magdangal 1.
Fouled out — None.
Technicals — Magdangal.
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