Seahawks soar to MLK Day victory

The first quarter of Monday's nonleague boys' basketball game between Ocean View and Huntington Beach gave every indication that a dogfight would ensue the rest of the way.

The teams traded early punches, one taking the lead before the other regained it. A back-and-forth battle seemed imminent.

But then the game switched gears in the second quarter, and by halftime, there was little doubt as to which team would come out victorious.

Ocean View turned a second-quarter blitz into an insurmountable lead. The visiting Seahawks went from a four-point lead after one quarter to a 31-point lead at the half. They went on to register an 82-68 win.

Ocean View, which won its ninth-straight game, scored 38 second-quarter points to overwhelm the Oilers. The Seahawks, ranked second in CIF Southern Section Division 2AA and 15-3 overall, led at the half, 56-25.

"Our defense turned into offense in that first half, and it was beautiful," Ocean View co-head coach Jimmy Harris said. "The energy we get from our defense really drives our offense. But for how well we played in the first half, we really didn't do much in the second half. That was frustrating."

Ocean View and Huntington Beach have played annually on Martin Luther King Day for the past five years. Monday's win by the Seahawks gave them a 3-2 lead in the MLK Day series.

"We love to win this game," Harris said. "It's an in-city rivalry. The kids know each other and the fans know each other, too. It's a great community game and [Huntington Beach Coach Fabian Luna] is awesome and does such a great job with his program."

Huntington held its last lead of the game at 12-10 late in the first quarter. Ocean View closed the quarter on an 8-2 run to take an 18-14 lead. 

The Seahawks continued to run in the second quarter, using two big spurts to turn the game into a rout. The first was an 8-0 run capped by a fade-away shot from inside the key by freshman guard Tyler Burch. The shot put the lead at 34-17 with just over four minutes left in the half. 

The second run was even bigger, a 14-0 burst that took the lead from 37-21, to 51-21. The big sequence came with two minutes left in the half.

Ocean View's seven-foot senior center, Conor Clifford, was fouled going to the basket by Harley Ruder. Huntington's junior forward fouled out on the play, leaving the Oilers further short-handed. Clifford hit three of four free throws and on the same possession, senior guard Cristian Rivera hit a long-range three-point shot to make it 39-21.

Huntington started the game without starter Andrew Tenbrink, a junior guard, and would play the rest of the game without Ruder.

"We played really well in the first quarter but in the second quarter, I don't know what happened," Luna said. "We gave up 38 points in the quarter, and it's tough to win when you do that.

"I told the guys at halftime to make some adjustments and go out there and make it respectable. I thought our guys did a better job in the second half, and that pleased me."

Ocean View continued to lead comfortably in the third quarter. The Seahawks led by 32 on three occasions and built their biggest lead at 33 points (64-31) on a three-point shot by freshman guard Kendall Small. They took a 71-45 lead into the fourth quarter.

That's when Clifford, Rivera and starting senior guard Robbie Weaver were taken out of the Ocean View lineup.

The Oilers didn't quit, however, and continued to chip away at the big deficit in the final eight minutes. 

They drew to within 79-64 when Tenbrink hit a free throw with 2:46 remaining and had two chances over the next 45 seconds to draw even closer but missed on the front-end of a one-and-one free-throw situation and on a three-point shot by senior guard Blake Skorich. 

Huntington did close to 7-68 on a steal by senior forward Brian Ortt that led to two free throws by Skorich with 54.6 seconds left, but Seahawks sophomore guard Dillon Reise hit a three-point shot with 21 seconds left to close out the scoring.

"[Huntington] made some adjustments in the second half and played well, and we didn't," said Harris. "Give Huntington credit. They have pride and they played a nice second half."

Clifford scored 18 of his team-high 22 points in the opening half. Rivera scored 15 points and Burch had 12 points.

Skorich hit six three-point shots and led all scorers with 25 points. Tenbrink scored his 13 points in the second half, and senior guard Rory Aldana scored 12 points for Huntington, which has had a tough go of it in the last week.

The Oilers suffered their first Sunset League loss last Wednesday to Los Alamitos. Last Friday and Saturday, they dropped consecutive heartbreakers to Edison and Canyon of Anaheim. Friday's loss was their fourth in a row and left them at 10-10 overall.

"We close out the first half of league this week and we're hoping to rebound," said Luna, whose team plays at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Newport Harbor and at home at 7 p.m. Friday against Marina.

Ocean View returns to Golden West League play at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Santa Ana. The Seahawks host league foe Segerstrom at 7 p.m. on Friday.

Twitter: @MikeSciacca

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