Oilers grind out win

Fountain Valley never found its rhythm Friday. Huntington Beach wouldn't allow it.

Playing tough defense and taking advantage of a cold-shooting night by the visiting Barons, Huntington took a 49-41 victory on the opening night of the Sunset League boys' basketball race. The Oilers led from wire-to-wire, maintaining a five- to nine-point spread much of the way and leading by as much as 12 points in the second half in picking up their 10th victory of the season.

Friday's opener also had the Oilers (10-6) playing together as a full squad — something that always hasn't been the case this season.

Fountain Valley, which lost its second straight game this week, fell to 11-5.

"When we have everybody healthy and playing, we haven't lost yet this season," said Huntington Coach Fabian Luna, whose team has been hit by injury and illness several times earlier in the season. "We knew (Fountain Valley) would be a good team, but I felt good about our chances coming into tonight. We have played some really good teams this season and we felt we were ready for league.

"I thought our guys did a great job and I credit our defense. We place an emphasis on contesting shots and we did that tonight. They (Fountain Valley) have three guys who can really shoot the ball and I thought our guys did a real nice job of taking away the perimeter."

The Oilers did take away the perimeter and even took away Fountain Valley's inside game. The Barons, who also suffered through a poor-shooting night on Wednesday in a 62-47 loss to Westminster,  were just 15 of 53 from the field. They weren't any better from the free-throw line, either, making just four of 14 attempts and missed the front end of several one-and-one situations.

"You can't shoot like that and expect to win," Fountain Valley Coach Roger Holmes said. I figured if we scored over 55 points in league play, we'd be all right. But we never got into any type of groove tonight.

"It's frustrating because we didn't make plays and we kept giving up 8- to 10-point runs. Then, we'd cut it to four and have the ball and a chance to get closer, but we'd miss an easy shot. Huntington played a good game, but I think this (loss) had to do more with us than them."

The tone was set for Fountain Valley in the opening seconds of the game. A missed inside shot led to an 0-for-4, two-turnover start for the Barons. Meanwhile, Huntington went on a 7-0 run to start  the game. The Barons responded by scoring the next five points, only to see the Oilers close out the first quarter with another 7-0 spurt.

The teams continued to streak in the second quarter. An 8-0 start to the quarter by Fountain Valley pulled the Barons to within, 14-13, but the Oilers then went on an 11-1 tear over the next three minutes to pull out to a 25-14 lead.

 Zack Richartz hit a quick three and Sean Myers scored on a fadeaway inside the key just before halftime to give the Barons some momentum heading into the intermission, despite trailing, 25-19.

Fountain Valley drew to within, 25-21, on a layup by Nathan Moss in the first 40 seconds of the second half but could get no closer. Another 11-3 run by Huntington, this one capped by a hanging shot from the key by Andrew Tenbrink, put the Oilers on top, 36-24.

A turnaround shot from eight feet out by Myers with 31 seconds left in the fourth quarter again got the Barons to within four (44-40), but the Oilers hit five of six free-throws down the stretch to put the game away.

Huntington senior guard Rory Aldana led all scorers with 16 points and Tenbrink scored 10.

Richartz, also a senior guard, topped Fountain Valley with 11 points.

The Sunset League boys' race continues Wednesday and has Huntington hosting Los Alamitos and Fountain Valley hosting archrival Edison. Both games start at 7 p.m.

"I told the kids, if they want to win this league, they need to win their games at home," Luna said. "We got the first one but now we have a big one coming up next week against Los Al."

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