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Armstrong leads Barons to win over Marina [Updated]

He scores 21 of his career-high 38 points in first half to help Fountain Valley score 69-59 Sunset League win.

January 23, 2013|By Mike Sciacca
(Scott Smeltzer…)

HUNTINGTON BEACH — Ho hum, another night in the Sunset League.

Teams from opposite ends of the league spectrum, Fountain Valley and Marina, went at it Friday and, sticking pretty much to what has been the script to follow so far in the league season, this game went down to the final minutes.

Fountain Valley used a big second half and was able to finish off the host Vikings, 69-59, and in the process, finished off the first half of the Sunset boys' basketball title race undefeated.

"It's a Sunset League road win and it's a beautiful thing, no matter how you slice it," said Fountain Valley Coach Roger Holmes, whose team finished the first half of league play 5-0.

But it wasn't easy. Marina led throughout much of the first half, but the Barons turned the tide with a blitz to start the second half. It paved the way to an eventual, 16-point lead, and it helped fend off a surge by the Vikings late in the fourth quarter.

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"Our guys played hard and came out focused and fighting at the start of the game, but we tend to have one quarter in every game where we tend to fall apart," said Marina Coach Nick Racklin, whose team went to 0-5 in league. "That was the third quarter for us tonight."

Fountain Valley trailed by as many as eight points in the opening half, but rallied to within 32-30 at the break. The Barons forced a few turnovers to start the second half and used a 10-0 run out of the gate, to bolt to a 42-32 lead with less than two minutes elapsed.

Josh Armstrong scored eight of the 10 points during the spurt, just part of a superb game by the senior guard. Armstrong was in the zone most of the night, picking up the slack for his team, which was cold from the field in the first half.

He scored 21 of his career-high 38 points in the first half, 17 coming in the second quarter, and was a huge reason why Fountain Valley was able to win for the 17th time in 21 games.

The 17 wins matches last year's win total by the Barons.

"Josh went on a tear there in the second quarter," Holmes said. "He's really good with the ball and played a great game tonight."

A dunk by Armstrong with 7:09 left in the fourth quarter increased Fountain Valley's lead to 55-42. The Barons still maintained a double-digit lead (55-44) with 6:36 left when Marina (6-15) began its comeback. A 7-0 spurt was capped by a shot from inside the lane by senior forward Hayden Winks that pulled the Vikings within 55-51.

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