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Ruder, Huntington Beach top Fountain Valley
HUNTINGTON BEACH - On Monday night, Fountain Valley boys basketball coach Roger Holmes sat in the bleachers at Ocean View High and watched as Huntington Beach turned a double-digit, first-quarter deficit into an 18-point victory against Ocean View.
Why was he there?
To find out what awaited the Barons in their second Sunset League meeting with the Oilers on Friday night.
In their first contest on Jan. 4, the Oilers’ Harley Ruder didn’t play and the Barons won by 12 points. This time around, Ruder was back in the starting role, and it made all the difference.
Huntington exacted some revenge on its home floor and with a 67-52 victory over Fountain Valley (17-5, 5-1), adding the first blemish to the Barons’ Sunset League record.
Huntington Beach coach Fabian Luna said having Ruder on the floor was key.
“He made a big difference,” he said. “When Harley is healthy it makes a big difference both inside offensively and rebounding.”
Ruder scored 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, including a perfect 9 of 9 from the free-throw line.
Ruder said Fountain Valley had to “respect the inside game” this time around.
“It opened up the outside game a little more,” Ruder said of his presence. “I wanted to be aggressive and get my teammates good shots because they were doubling me.”
With extra attention being put on Ruder, fellow senior Andrew TenBrink stepped up and made key shots, finishing with 20 points while pulling down 10 rebounds.
Fountain Valley seemed to never find a good rhythm throughout the contest, as Huntington Beach (15-7, 4-2) made every effort to keep the ball out of Barons’ do-it-all guard Josh Armstrong.
While Armstrong finished with 20 points, Luna felt that his team did a nice job making his shots hard to come by.
“We didn’t really do anything special, but we wanted to keep the ball out of (Josh) Armstrong’s hands as much as possible,” he said. “We didn’t want him to be a playmaker and it worked out for us.”
With a 53-46 lead heading into the fourth quarter, the Oilers held Fountain Valley without a basket for the first 7:07, opening up an 11-point lead before a Jacob Meyer 3-pointer ended the Barons’ scoring drought.
Huntington held Fountain Valley to just six fourth-quarter points, and Luna harkened back to Monday’s stellar fourth quarter defensive effort against Ocean View as a springboard for slowing down the Barons in this game.
“Starting in that fourth quarter against Ocean View, we started getting after it more defensively,” he said. “That’s been our focus; make sure we’re defending.”