The unlikely happened Friday night in the Sunset League.
For weeks, it has seemed that no team would emerge as the front-runner in the eerily balanced league and, on Friday, things could have dissolved into a messy three-way tie for first place.
Instead, Ocean View High School maintained its hold on first place with a 57-46 victory over Fountain Valley at Ocean View.
But it almost didn't happen. Ocean View (9-8, 5-1) played a lackluster game in the first half, turning the ball over five times in the first quarter, shooting 26% from the field in the second quarter, and trailing, 25-19, at halftime.
But in the locker room, Coach Jim Harris had a little one-on-one, heart-to-heart, unrepeatable conversation with senior forward Craig Rice, and the game turned around.
Rice, who hadn't scored a point in the first half, exploded for 13 in the third quarter, hitting 2 three-point shots, making 3-of-3 at the foul line and stealing the ball twice. The newly aggressive Seahawks outscored Fountain Valley, 23-9, in the quarter and never trailed again.
"We were just lethargic in the first half," Harris said. "It was starting to look like a repeat of the first time we played them."
On Jan. 8, the Barons beat Ocean View, 70-64. But that seems like a long time ago.
"We were on a peak and now we're in a valley," Fountain Valley Coach Dave Brown said before the game.
Fountain Valley began the league season ranked fifth in the county, higher than any other Sunset League team, and won their first three league contests. But since then, they've lost three straight and have been outscored by an average of 17 points a game.
The Barons (13-5, 3-3) turned the ball over four times in the first two minutes of the third quarter and were outrebounded, 20-9, in the second half.
Ocean View center Todd Norman had 10 rebounds and 14 points and guard Greg Evans added 10 points.
Jim Borgquist and Kevin Andersen each scored 10 points for Fountain Valley.
Ocean View's grasp on first place may be fleeting. Wednesday the Seahawks travel to Marina High School, alone in second place.
Marina 64, Edison 46--Steve Guild scored 21 for visiting Marina. Dan Floyd added 14 and David Yamate 13 for Marina (15-5, 4-2), which led, 25-16, at the half. Mike Foster scored 14 and Mark Hunter 10 for Edison (12-9, 2-4).
Huntington Beach 60, Westminster 58--Joey Katter made a layup with 1:20 left and host Huntington Beach survived three Westminster shots in the final eight seconds. David Bonaparte scored 19 points to lead Huntington Beach (8-13, 2-4). Chris Tower scored 19 points for Westminster (10-10, 2-4).