Oilers hold off Chargers

HUNTINGTON BEACH — Fabian Luna sensed it was going to happen.

The Huntington Beach boys' basketball coach felt that Wednesday's key Sunset League game against Edison would be decided in the last seconds. Even when his Oilers took a nine-point halftime lead. Even when they built the advantage to 14 midway through the third quarter.

Luna was right.

Despite leading all night, Huntington had to withstand a three-point shot attempt in the final 10 seconds, then two, frantic put-back attempts by the visiting Chargers from close range, to escape with a 39-37 victory.

Dreon Barlett missed from three-point range with Edison down two. Teammate Tyler Fields managed to get the rebound and put up a shot from inside the key that missed, then the Chargers' Chris Wolfe got off a shot that caromed off the rim with two seconds left. What followed was a mad scramble for a loose ball inside the key which the Oilers came up with as time expired.

"I knew it would happen, that we'd have a finish like this," a relieved Luna said moments after the big win. "I told our guys that [the Chargers] are an undefeated team for a reason. We had the lead but they came back and nearly pulled it out. Luckily, the ball bounced our way."

Edison's school-record start to a boys' basketball season, 16 consecutive victories, and perfect season, both came to an end at Elmer Combs Gymnasium. The Chargers, who entered the showdown ranked No. 1 in CIF Division 2AA, also fell to 1-1 in league.

Huntington, which came in ranked eighth in the division, avenged a December loss to Edison at the La Quinta Tournament to run their overall record to 12-5. With a win over defending league champ Los Alamitos already under their belt, the Oilers now sit at 2-0 in Sunset play.

Huntington won, 41-39, on the Griffins' home floor last Friday.

"It's incredible to be 2-0 right now," Luna said. "We have two big wins against Los Al and now Edison, but there's a lot of basketball still to be played. Right now, though, we are playing good basketball."

Huntington never trailed against Edison and held the Chargers to a season-low 10 points in the first half. They also contained Edison's leading scorer, Dylan Garrity, who entered averaging 23 points per game, to a season-low five points.

The senior point guard, who became Edison's career assists leader earlier in the season, scored his only basket of the game on a long-range three-point shot that drew the Chargers to within 39-37 with 10 seconds remaining.

Garrity's first points of the contest came moments earlier when he hit two free throws that pulled Edison to within 37-33 with 1:03 to play.

"We didn't do anything really special defensively," Luna said. "We pressured Dylan quite a bit and ran a couple of doubles on him but other than that we didn't do anything out of the ordinary. I thought we just did a real nice job on the defensive end."

Huntington, which led, 29-20 at the half, twice built the lead to 14, the last time coming on a Dirk Cason bank shot from the side of the key with 4:39 left in the third quarter that made it 28-14. It turned out to be the Oilers' last basket until Mackey Clustka scored on a lay up with 4:36 left in the fourth quarter that allowed the Oilers to go up, 33-25.

A reverse lay-up by Zach Bauer, followed by a short jumper and two free throws by Barlett, got Edison to within 35-32 with 1:49 left. It was then that Andrew Tenbrink came up big for Huntington.

With the shot clock winding down on Huntington's ensuing possession, the sophomore hit a fall away jumper from the right-side over Chris Wolfe with a second to spare, pushing the lead to 37-32. After Garrity hit his two free throws, Tenbrink scored on another jump from just outside the key, this one trickling over the lip of the rim into the hoop to make it 39-34 with 1:03 to go.

After Garrity's three trimmed the Huntington lead to two, Tenbrink threw long toward teammate Jordan Reise on the inbounds pass which went the length of the court and out of bounds, giving the Chargers another chance from under their own basket with 10 seconds left.

That set the stage for a wild finish, as Luna had predicted.

"It was a wild ending," said Tenbrink who led Huntington with 11 points. "It feels great to win this. We've been cross-town rivals for so long and it feels good to give them their first loss of the season. We knew we had to do a great job on defense tonight and shut down Garrity, and we did that. This is a big win for us."

Clustka and Cason both scored seven points and Oe and Reise each had six points for the Oilers.

Barlett led all scorers with 14 points and Wolfe finished with 10 points.

Both teams resume league play Friday with Huntington hosting Fountain Valley and Edison traveling to Newport Harbor. Both game tip off at 7 p.m.


Other Sunset League scores from Wednesday:

Fountain Valley 68, Marina 41

Both teams are now 1-1 in league play.

Los Alamitos 57, Newport Harbor 51

The Griffins squared their league record at 1-1 with the win over the Sailors, who fell to 0-2.

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