Huntington Beach girls boost confidence by beating Sonora at Matt Denning Hoops Classic

SANTA ANA Huntington Beach’s ninth-ranked girls basketball team discovered Saturday a few more reasons to be confident for its upcoming duels in the Surf League.

Guard Marisa Tanga scored a season-high 16 points and guard Noelle Duffey added a season-high 11 points off the bench to lead the short-handed Oilers to a 46-35 victory against No. 11 Sonora at the Matt Denning Nike Hoops Classic at Mater Dei.

The Oilers (13-5) played without starting post players Bella Serrano (elbow) and Andie Payne (funeral) but pulled away in the fourth quarter against the reigning co-Freeway League champion and Division 1 Raiders (13-3).

It was just the type of performance Huntington Beach, a Division 2-AA team, needed with a Jan. 10 showdown at Los Alamitos approaching.

“It keeps us confident,” said Huntington Beach coach Russ McClurg, whose team finished second to Open Division contender Bishop Montgomery at the recent Garden Grove Classic. “It gives the younger players confidence. … We know Los Al is strong.”

Duffey opened the scoring in the fourth with a 3-pointer in the corner off an assist by fellow sophomore Megan McIntyre to give the Oilers a 33-27 lead.

Tanga followed about two minutes later by sinking two free throws to extend the lead to 35-27. After Sonora’s Haylie Dermer knocked down her own 3-pointer from the corner, Huntington Beach center Daniella Benabou (three blocks) scored her only field goal off an inbound play to put the Oilers in control 37-30.

Duffey also sank two 3-pointers from the corner late in the second quarter, including one with about 15 seconds left to give the Oilers the lead for good at 24-21.

She also finished with seven rebounds, a key contribution considering the missing personnel and Sonora’s stellar rebounder, Calla Anderson (11 rebounds).

“I was real proud of her,” McClurg said of Duffey, who helped the Oilers outrebound the Raiders, 38-27.

Tanga made 6 of 12 shots from the floor, including layups with both hands to open the second half, and all four of her chances from the foul line.

Huntington Beach made 13 of 16 free throws (81 percent). McIntyre sank five free throws in the fourth en route to a 6 for 7 effort and 12 points. The guard also had a team-high eight rebounds.

Sonora’s Alyssa Ke scored 12 of her team-high 13 points in the first half and added four steals. The Raiders made 4 of 26 field goals in the second half.

In other Denning games:

No. 5 Fairmont Prep 52, Mark Keppel 41: Izzy Om sparked an 8-0 run early in the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer and Mia Yamamoto (16) and Sheridan Glover (12) combined for 28 points as the Huskies (7-12) won a clash of Division 1 teams.

Om gave Fairmont a 42-38 lead with a 3-pointer and Yamamoto capped the 8-0 surge with two baskets to push the advantage to 47-38.

No. 1 Mater Dei 70, St. Joseph Notre Dame of Alameda 46: Cailyn Crocker and Alyssa Frescas each scored 14 points and combined for 14 rebounds to lead the Monarchs (19-2), who outrebounded the Pilots 47-27.

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