In recent seasons, the Huntington Beach High girls’ basketball team has not been one to push the tempo.
Nevertheless, a good team will find multiple ways to win a game.
When the Oilers faced an action-packed first half in Thursday night’s game at Garden Grove High, they managed to keep pace. Then they pulled away in the second half.
Sophomore center Andie Payne had 14 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots to lead Huntington Beach to a 66-44 win over Whittier La Serna in a quarterfinal game of the Garden Grove Classic.
Sophomore point guard Alyssa Real had 17 points, five assists, four steals and three rebounds for the Oilers (10-4). Sophomore shooting guard Meghan McIntyre added 16 points, six rebounds and three steals.
Huntington Beach found itself in a battle in the first half, although the game was afforded little flow. Both teams were in the double-bonus before halftime. They also combined to shoot 30 free throws going into the break.
“They sped us up, and we missed some key early layups on the press break, which kind of threw us [off],” Oilers coach Russell McClurg said. “We were making long passes that were going out of bounds, and there were a lot of uncharacteristic turnovers.”
The matchup of the night was in the paint. Sophomore forward Rosalie Avalos had a game-high 26 points to go with nine rebounds for the Lancers (8-6).
“When [Avalos] wasn’t on me, I had the mismatch often, so whenever I had that, I was trying to be good offensively,” Payne said. “When she was on me, I tried to mix it up with up-and-unders or kick it out to the wings so that they could have the open shot when I got doubled.”
A hot-shooting Real would make the Lancers pay for double-teaming the post with three shots made from beyond the arc. All of her assists came in the first three quarters, and Huntington Beach took a 55-32 lead into the fourth quarter.
“We usually slow it down,” Real said. “We usually run a lot of plays, but today, we had to go fast-paced, and we knew that we could beat the team down the court, so we threw a lot to Meghan McIntyre and Marisa [Tanga].
“We just had a lot of good, open layups.”
Tanga, a junior guard, had nine points and four assists. Senior center Daniella Benabou had six points, all of which came as part of a 24-point third quarter for the Oilers.
“We started hitting big shots in the second half,” McClurg said. “It was tight up until that point. We hit some big shots, and we went on a nice run there in the third quarter, broke away and settled down.
“We dominated the boards, for the most part, which really is the key to winning a game like that where it is so scrappy.”
Huntington Beach wound up outrebounding La Serna 33-29 in the game. The Oilers also came away with 11 steals and blocked six shots.
Senior forward Bella Serrano also contributed four points, five rebounds and a block for Huntington Beach.
The Oilers will face Laguna Hills (5-7) in the semifinals on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Garden Grove. The Hawks defeated Garden Grove 58-37 to conclude tournament play on Thursday.
Garden Grove Classic
Huntington Beach 66, Whittier La Serna 44
SCORE BY QUARTERS
La Serna 13 – 12 – 7 – 12 — 44
Huntington Beach 16 – 15 – 24 – 11 — 66
LS – Avalos 26, Camacho 5, Perez 4, Apodaca 3, Angulo 2, Gonzalez 2, Vega 1, Segura 1.
3-pt. goals – None.
Fouled out – None.
Technicals – None.
HB – Real 17, McIntyre 16, Payne 14, Tanga 9, Benabou 6, Serrano 4.
3-pt. goals – Real 3, McIntyre 1, Tanga 1.
Fouled out – None.