HUNINGTON BEACH – At about the midway point of the third quarter of Tuesday's CIF Southern Section Division 1A boys' basketball game between Huntington Beach and El Toro, it appeared that Huntington was about to make a game-changing move on the visiting Chargers.
Trailing throughout the second-round contest, the Oilers, who had been outmaneuvered and outgunned for much of the night, got to within nine points of the El Toro lead. It was then, though, that the lights were turned out for good by the Chargers.
El Toro went on a tear of 25 straight points over the final 4:12 of the third quarter through the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, and turned the scoring blitz into a 76-48 victory that eliminated Huntington from the postseason party. The Chargers, the No. 5-seed in the tournament, improved to 22-8 overall and will play in Friday's quarterfinals.
Huntington, which tied Fountain Valley and Edison for second place in the Sunset League, was the divisions' No. 12 seed. The Oilers, who led only once in the game early in the first quarter, end their year at 16-13.
"We knew [the Chargers] were a good team, and they were, but for us, we just didn't take care of the ball tonight," Huntington Coach Fabian Luna said. "We were sloppy at both ends and couldn't buy a basket in the second half. It was one of those nights."
The turnover-proned Oilers also suffered through one of their worst shooting nights of the season. A dry spell that bridged the third and fourth quarter sealed their fate. Not only could they not find the range from the field, they were only 17 of 32, overall, from the foul line. Ironically, though, it was Huntington that appeared to be on the verge of a huge momentum swing at the halfway mark of the third quarter.
El Toro big man Jordan Faison picked up his third personal foul just 48 seconds into the second half and was taken out of the game. Moments later, starting guard Jeremy Glick was called for his fourth personal and he, too, went to the El Toro bench with the Chargers holding a 36-22 lead. It was then that Huntington showed signs of life. A lay-up by junior forward Harley Ruder was followed by a reverse lay-in by junior guard Andrew Tenbrink, and the gap was narrowed to 36-26. The Oilers got to within nine (36-27) on a free throw by Ruder with 6:06 to go in the quarter and had several other chances to further cut into the deficit but missed three of their next four free-throw attempts. El Toro junior guard Cory White then hit from three-point range to put the Chargers up, 41-28, midway through the quarter.
White's basket triggered something bigger: it ignited a 25-point run by the Chargers that put the game away, and it came with Faison and Glick on the bench. By the time the damage was done, the Chargers had moved into an insurmountable, 63-28 lead with 6:24 to play. A free throw by Ruder ended the run and an Oilers' scoring drought. The Chargers led by as many as 35 points in the fourth quarter (63-28) when Ryan Roberts hit a three-point shot that punctuated the 25-point spree. Both teams emptied their bench in the final quarter.
Ruder led Huntington in scoring with 12 points and Skorich had 10 points. White topped the scoring with 24 points and junior guard Liam Skelly hit four three-point shots and finished with 13 points.
Tuesday was not a good night for local boys' basketball teams.
In other CIF boys' basketball action Tuesday:
West Ranch 101, Edison 63: The No. 8-seed Chargers had their season ended on the road by No. 9-seed and Foothill League co-champion West Ranch. Four Chargers scored in double figures led by senior guard Corey Foster with 17 points. Senior guard Cade Hernandez was next with 16 points, freshman guard Derek Molina scored 14 points and senior guard Dreon Barlett had 13 points.
Edison ended its year 20-8.
Thousand Oaks 82, Ocean View 65: The visiting Seahawks, the top-seeded team in the division, brought an 18-game win streak into the second-round match-up but couldn't overcome the hot-shooting Lancers who used the three-point shot to pull off the upset victory. Thousand Oaks, the No. 15-seed which finished tied for third in the Marmonte League, was 11 of 12 from three-point range and had six three-pointers by halftime.
Senior guard/forward Cristian Rivera scored 24 points and collected eight rebounds and senior center Conor Clifford had 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Seahawks.
"[Thousand Oaks] came out with a lot of energy from the start," Ocean View co-head Coach Tim Walsh said. "They had a great crowd which gave them a great home-court advantage. They played a zone and took some things away from us early. We weren't the aggressors and it just felt like things were not going our way all night."
Ocean View had started postseason play Friday with a 68-51 win over Redondo Union. Clifford led the scoring with 19 points, Rivera scored 14 points, sophomore guard Dillon Reise had 13 points and junior guard Josh Mishler 11 points.
The Seahawks, who spent the last month of the regular season ranked No. 1 in the division, finished their season at 24-4.
Village Christian 81, Brethren Christian 66: The Warriors bid for a semifinal appearance was denied by No. 2-seed Village Christian (Olympic League champion, 25-2). Junior post Mamadou Ndiaye poured in a career-high 43 points for No. 7-seed BC which won the Academy League championship and finished the year 24-6.