BARSTOW • After taking a win to open the playoffs, the Barstow boys basketball team advanced to face its second-round opponent on Friday.
The Aztecs, who got into the CIF tournament with an at-large bid, notched a nice victory on Wednesday, beating Gladstone. The Gladiators had a dominating season, finishing at 18-7 overall, 12-2 in the Montview League. Those numbers weren't enough to get them past the first round, though, as Barstow held on for a tight, 41-38, road win.
That ushered in round two, which brought Ocean View to town. The Seahawks were an even more daunting opponent, with an overall record of 21-6, and a perfect 10-0 in the Golden West League. Still, the Aztecs were able to stay with them and keep the game competitive until the last couple of minutes, when the Seahawks pulled away for an 88-68 win at Barstow High School.
Aztecs coach Preston Biggs didn't know a lot about Ocean View, other than that one of its six losses was to Dana Hills, which beat the DSL's Victor Valley by 22 points in a holiday tournament. He expected physical play and a strong defense, both of which the Aztecs got.
"I knew they'd full-court press us. We did okay against the press, but it did cause some turnovers, especially in the first half," said coach Biggs. "We had 13 turnovers in the first, and it seemed like on every turnover, they scored."
Though the Seahawks would go on runs, Barstow always managed to get back in it and keep its opponent from putting the game away. Though they had a deep bench and did rotate players in and out, in the end, only Ocean's five starters wound up in the scoring column, each in double figures.
In contrast, seven Aztecs collected points, including two players up from the JV squad, Jaylen Gallegos and Cameron Taylor. As well as getting some postseason experience, each also contributed offensively, as Taylor sank a field goal and a free throw, while Gallegos went 2-for-2 from the line.
Both teams did well from the stripe, Barstow missing just four throws and Ocean, six. The difference was, the Seahawks took 30 trips to the line, with just 11 for the Aztecs. Considering Ocean had just one more field goal - 29 to Barstow's 28 - and the same number of 3-pointers - five for each team - it turned out that the charity stripe was where the Seahawks had the edge.
Barstow was at a disadvantage in the form of a missing point guard. Starter Jonathan Joseph wasn't cleared by his doctor to play, and had to stay on the sidelines.
"I found out on my way to the game that Joseph couldn't play. A missing starting point guard against the press is a bad combination. Running offense from the point guard spot is an important role," said Biggs. "So we had a couple of guys out of position, but they stepped up and played well."
Cody Boston and Anthony Addison were most often the go-to players. Boston scored in every quarter, his biggest output being a 10-point fourth. He did so while playing a clean game, being assessed just one personal foul. After hitting four big 3-pointers last Friday in a win over Granite Hills in Barstow's regular-season finale, senior Addison came up big again, knocking down five three's, as many as the Seahawks as a team.
"I'm glad to be getting Cody back next year, he's really started to step into the role of a team leader," said Biggs of the Aztec junior. "And Addison had another solid game, he got better and better every single game this year."
Addison's best quarter was the third, when he lit up the board for 12 points. He finished with 20 points and four steals, while Boston had 19 points, eight rebounds, three assists and a block. Also in double figures was Phillippe Salawa with 12 points, with George Morales dishing off five assists. Joseph Boston and Domenic Silva had six points apiece.
Ocean's Kendall Small was the game high-scorer with 28 points.
The Seahawks are a tough team, a number-four seed, and as such, coach Biggs was happy with the Aztecs' effort. Barstow finished at 10-17 in the coach's first year at the helm.
"Overall, it was a good season and I'm proud of the guys who are still here at the end," he said. "We're only losing two seniors, so the majority of the team will be back. The future looks good. I'm encouraged by all the experience we'll be getting back, I'm excited for next season."