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Fountain Valley comes up short against Inglewood
FOUNTAIN VALLEY - Fountain Valley’s boys basketball team knew its challenge, and knew what it needed to do just to have a chance against Inglewood.
The Sunset League champions needed a hot-shooting Friday night.
But the Barons couldn’t produce their counter-punch, and visiting Inglewood used its height advantage to dominate the offensive boards en route to a 72-43, victory in a CIF-SS Division 1-AA first round playoff game.
Inglewood (17-9) and Xavier-bound point guard Brandon Randolph also beat Fountain Valley (20-7) in transition and bench scoring but offensive rebounding was their lasting impression.
The Sentinels scored nine points in the second quarter off offensive rebounds and led, 32-21, at halftime. They cruised to advance to Tuesday’s second round against the Rancho Cucamonga-ML King winner.
Inglewood’s front line featured 6-foot-10 center Charlie Lockwood, 6-foot-7 forwards Nicholas Smiley and Jamin Lackey and 6-foot-5 forward Kristopher Randall.
Fountain Valley countered with 6-foot-7 Jackson Gatlin but its height dropped from there.
“Their offensive rebounding was overwhelming,” Fountain Valley coach Roger Holmes said of Inglewood, who could face more county teams in the division.
“They weren’t going over the back, they were going over the top. What do you do?”
Lockwood (11 rebounds), Smiley (10) and Lackey (10) each finished with double-digit rebounds. Lockwood also added seven blocks, including one that led to a soaring dunk by Randolph in the fourth.
“We’re so big and we use our bodies well so we were just able to tower up over everybody, get the rebound and put it back,” Randolph said.
Smiley and Randolph finished with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Fountain Valley wanted to counter Inglewood’s size by shooting well but the Barons made only 3 of 18 3-points shots, including a buzzer-beat by Josh Armstrong at the end of the first half.
Inglewood played mostly man-to-man defense.
“We had to shoot the ball extremely well to even be close in that game and we didn’t,” Holmes said.
Armstrong paced Fountain Valley with a game-high 16 points while Gatlin added 12. Joey Petersen chipped in 8 while Tanner Trounce had seven.
Inglewood’s bench outscored Fountain Valley, 24-0.
Randolph left impressed by Fountain Valley, especially Armstrong.
“They’re a good team,” he said. “(Armstrong) plays absolutely hard. … Their shots didn’t seem to be falling tonight.”
Holmes didn’t lose sight of his team’s breakthrough season. In their third-season under Holmes, the Barons claimed their first Sunset League crown since 1995.
“It was a big year for Fountain Valley,” he said. “That game really had nothing to do with the year. That game was a predictable game.”
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