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Boys' Basketball: Armstrong, Gatlin lead way

Fountain Valley duo shares MVP honors in Sunset League after leading Barons to league championship.

April 03, 2013|By Mike Sciacca
(SCOTT SMELTZER…)

Fountain Valley achieved something this winter it hadn't done on the hardwood in 18 years: win a Sunset League championship in boys' basketball. The Barons took the title behind a senior-driven class of players, two of whom have earned the league's top honor.

Guard Josh Armstrong and center Jackson Gatlin have been tabbed MVPs of the 2013 league season. The pair headline a 14-member all-league team.

Armstrong averaged 20.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 7.5 assists per game, for the season. During league play, he averaged 24.5 points, six rebounds and 7.2 assists per game.

"Josh had a breakout year," Fountain Valley Coach Roger Holmes said. "He is big (6-foot-3, 195 pounds) and was so good in the open court. He averaged over 20 points a game and led the county [with 202] assists, quite a feat. A very difficult guy to guard because of his strength and ability to get into the key."

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The 6-foot-7 Gatlin averaged 14.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.2 blocks per league game. For the season, he averaged 13.5 points, 11 rebounds and 4.7 blocks a game.

"Jackson was our anchor on the defensive end of the court as well as having the ability to rebound and step away from the basket to make shots," Holmes said. "He led the county in blocked shots (126).

"Both players, last spring, were dedicated to the goal of getting the Sunset League championship back to Fountain Valley."

Fountain Valley basketball has seen a steady rise in the program over the past three years. In the 2010-11 season, the first with Holmes in the role of head coach at his alma mater, the Barons went 16-11, finished fourth in league and advanced to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 1-A Division playoffs. That season included the program's first postseason win in 10 years. Last year, they went 17-10, finished second in league and reached the first round of the Division 1AA playoffs.

This year's squad won 20 games, went 20-7 overall and again qualified for the 1AA playoffs again. The season was marked by the program's first Sunset title since 1995.

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