HUNTINGTON BEACH — Coming into Friday's game with Summit, Huntington Beach Coach Fabian Luna felt his Oilers would be tested by the athleticism of the Skyhawks in the second-round CIF Southern Section Division 2AA boys' basketball game between the teams.
He was right.
It was Huntington, however, which tested Summit early but the Skyhawks switched to a zone defense early in the second quarter and began to take control, then put their quickness and that athleticism on display in the final 16 minutes to storm to a 68-50 victory at Huntington's Elmer Combs Gymnasium.
The visitors from Fontana, the division's sixth-seededeam and champions of the Sunkist League, improved to 23-6 and advance to Tuesday's quarterfinal round.
No. 11-seeded Huntington, the third-place team from the Sunset League, ends its year at 20-9.
The Oilers kept pace early but couldn't solve Summit's zone defense in the second quarter, nor did they have an answer for the Skyhawks' 6-foot-7 senior power forward, Dorian Cason. They also were the victims of several second-half steals and dunks that allowed Summit to break away from a 23-19 halftime lead, to a 50-34 lead after three quarters.
"We were right there with them in that first quarter but the one thing that has bothered us this year is that when teams have zoned us, it's slowed our offense. That's what happened tonight," Luna said. "We also missed some chip shots and [the Skyhawks] were able to hit some shots in that third quarter and got the momentum going.
"They are quick at the guard position, they have athletic guys on the perimeter and a big guy (Cason) in the middle. A lot of people think they can win it all. After seeing them tonight, I think they can."
Summit led, 10-7, after the first quarter but fell behind when Vincent Oe hit two quick three-point shots to put Huntington into a 15-11 lead. The second three by Oe, a four-year varsity player, gave the Oilers their biggest lead of the night.
That trey also was the final points Huntington would score over the next 2:45. In the meantime, Summit went on a 12-0 tear behind Cason who had a pair of three-point plays during the run which took the Skyhawks from down 15-11, to a 23-15 lead. Huntington's drought finally ended when sophomore Andrew Tenbrink hit two free throws with 1:38 left in the quarter. Oe dropped two more free throws with three seconds left in the half to pull Huntington to within 23-19 at intermission.
Oe led the Oilers with eight points in the half.
Huntington was down 28-22 when Cason picked up his third foul with 6:34 left in the third quarter. With Cason on the bench, the Oilers twice manage to get to within three points of the Skyhawks, the final time at 30-27 on two free throws by Jordan Reise midway through the quarter. They would get no closer.
That's because Isaiah Taylor delivered from three-point range, the first three of the game for Summit, that extended the lead. Dirk Cason hit a short jumper for Huntington that made it 33-29 but Cameron Lewis came right back with another trey for the Skyhawks that made it 36-29. From there on, it was all Summit.
In the final 1:35 of the quarter, junior guard Devon Alexander hit a three and seconds later, came up with a steal that led to his lay-up at the other end. Lewis, a senior wing, hit two free throws and then had a steal and drove the length of the floor for a lay-in, was fouled and converted the foul shot. Lewis, scoreless until the third, had nine points in the quarter as the Skyhawks took a 50-34 lead into the final eight minutes.
Dorian Cason returned at the start of the fourth quarter and the Skyhawks, who had three dunks in the final quarter, twice built the lead to 21 points, their biggest of the game. Cason's two foul shots made it 64-43 with 3:17 left, his tallies in a game-high 19-points effort.
Dirk Cason led Huntington with 14 points. Oe finished with 10 points and Reise scored seven.
Oe, Cason, Reise and Mackey Clustka, all seniors, played their final games for the Oilers.
Huntington has won 20 or more games in three of the last four years. It appeared that a 20-win season would be a tall order in 2010-11 after starter Jordan Castaneda was lost for the year with a season-ending injury before the Oilers even played a game.
"I'm really proud of our guys," Luna said. "A lot of people wrote us off after Jordan went down but a lot of guys stepped in and stepped up and led us to a great year. It's been a lot of fun and we had some big wins."
Huntington advanced to Friday's second round by winning, 40-30, Wednesday at California.
In other Division 2AA second-round games Friday:
Sunset League champion and No. 5-seeded Edison moved on to Tuesday's quarterfinals by winning, 53-43, at No. 12 Simi Valley. It was Edison's second win this season over the Pioneers whom they defeated, 68-48, during tournament play on Dec. 30.
Ocean View, tri-champion of the Golden West League, saw its season come to an end in Ventura. The Seahawks were defeated, 73-59, by the top-seeded Cougars.
In a Division 5A game Friday, sixth-ranked Brethren Christian made the trek from Huntington Beach to Bermuda Dunes but will enjoy the ride home after the Warriors scored a 47-45 victory over No. 11 Desert Christian Academy to move on to Tuesday's quarterfinal round.