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Huntington Beach beats CdM, forges three-way tie atop Surf League

Surf League girls’ basketball received a seismic shakeup on Tuesday when Corona del Mar High was able to upset Los Alamitos at home.

The Sea Kings were not the only ones reveling in the aftermath of their victory, though.

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Huntington Beach knew that night that it had new life in the league title race, and the first-place Sea Kings were next on the schedule.

The Oilers capitalized on their opportunity. Meghan McIntyre had 15 points, five rebounds and four steals to lead Huntington Beach to a 45-33 win over visiting CdM on Thursday night.

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Huntington Beach (18-6, 2-1 in league) pulled into a three-way tie for first place with CdM (15-10, 2-1) and Los Alamitos (18-6, 2-1) in the league. The Griffins defeated Edison 66-29 in the other league contest of the evening.

The Chargers are now 10-12 overall and 0-3 through the first half of league.

“It was kind of a desperation [game],” Oilers coach Russell McClurg said. “We were in a situation where, if we lose this game, we’re really behind the eight ball.

“We took this game very seriously like it was our last game of the year. The kids really stepped up, did a great job on defense.”

Sophomore center Andie Payne said the opportunity to play for a share of first place gave the Oilers added motivation.

Corona del Mar High's Tori Gyselaar (11) and Huntington Beach's Andie Payne (24) battle for a rebound during a Surf League game on Thursday.
Corona del Mar High's Tori Gyselaar (11) and Huntington Beach's Andie Payne (24) battle for a rebound during a Surf League game on Thursday. (Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

“We were really excited about that because we definitely want to win first place in this whole league,” said Payne, who had 10 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots. “[With] the opportunity, we were fired up.”

McIntyre looked to attack the paint off the dribble early on. She led all scorers with 11 points at halftime.

The Sea Kings have Tatiana Bruening, a 6-foot-2 senior center, and Alara Ersu, a 5-foot-11 senior power forward. Nevertheless, McIntyre said she was unencumbered by CdM’s length in the post.

“I knew that if a 6-footer came up on me, I would have one of my post [players] like Andie or Daniella [Benabou] in the center of the key, and I could just drop it to them,” McIntyre said. “I knew that they were there if I got in trouble.”

The Oilers doubled up the Sea Kings at 16-8 on a front-court steal and layup by Bella Serrano with 1:55 to go in the first quarter. A full-court press had quickly supplied an 8-0 run for the Oilers, and they led the rest of the way.

Huntington Beach had nine steals before the break, and it led 28-18 at that point.

Trasara Alexander connected on a 32-foot heave at the end of the third quarter, but Huntington Beach had increased its lead to 41-26 going into the fourth quarter.

The Sea Kings were held off the scoreboard for the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, and a McIntyre offensive put-back extended Huntington Beach’s edge to 45-26 with 4:27 remaining.

The Oilers are back to full strength after Serrano missed time with an elbow sprain. Serrano made her return to the court in the league opener against Los Alamitos on Jan. 10.

“It’s great because [CdM is] a big team, a physical team,” McClurg said of having his full complement of post players available. “I was really worried about getting into a half-court game against them because of their height, because of their size.”

Senior point guard Samantha Uehara led the Sea Kings with nine points, adding four steals. Bruening had seven points to go with eight rebounds and four blocks.

“We were just flat,” Sea Kings coach Brason Alexander said. “I don’t know if it was a hangover from Tuesday. I don’t really believe in those things.

“They’re a good team. I think they were the aggressive team, and we were kind of sitting back. On the road, you can’t be a counter-puncher.”

Alexander said he still would have taken a split at the beginning of the week.

“I’m not happy with this one, but overall, I can’t be upset with 1-1 after this week,” he added. “Playing at Huntington. You’re playing Los Al. Those are two really good teams.”

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Surf League

Huntington Beach 45, Corona del Mar 33

Corona del Mar 10 – 8 – 8 – 7 — 33

Huntington Beach 16 – 12 – 13 – 4 — 45

CdM – Uehara 9, Bruening 7, Alexander 6, Tomlinson 6, Ersu 4, Gyselaar 1.

3-pt. goals – Alexander 2.

Fouled out – None.

Technicals – None.

HB – McIntyre 15, Payne 10, Serrano 8, Benabou 6, Real 3, Tanga 3.

3-pt. goals – McIntyre 2, Real 1.

Fouled out – None.

Technicals – None.

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