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February 20, 2013
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. - More times than not, youth can be the downfall of a high school basketball team - especially during playoff time.
Coming into Tuesday night's CIF Division IIIA semifinal game, Huntington Beach (Calif.) Ocean View head coach Tim Walsh feared that the lack of experience would cause his team more harm than good against Irvine (Calif.) Northwood.
Luckily for Walsh and the Seahawks, class of 2015 prospect Kendall Small showed no signs of nervousness as Ocean View defeated Northwood, 68-59, at Ocean View High.
Small finished just one steal short of a triple-double, as his line for the night was a LeBron James-esque 26 points, 13 rebounds and nine thefts.
Small did not do it alone, however.
The 6-foot point guard prospect had help from fellow sophomore Tyler Burch. Burch, a 6-foot-5 wing prospect finished with 13 points, including a Northwood-momentum-crushing 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter.
Junior forward Dillon Reise rounded out the Ocean View double-digit scorers with 12.
Despite being the focal point of the Northwood defense, Small came out determined to get to the basket in the first half. He sliced and diced through each defender to the tune of 16 points, nine rebounds and five steals in the opening 16 minutes.
Ocean View took a 16-point lead, 41-25, into halftime.
Northwood came out in the second half with what seemed to be a renewed sense of energy and fight, as they outscored the Seahawks,12-8, in the third quarter, cutting its deficit to 11 heading into the fourth.
Small scored the opening basket of the final period, but Northwood answered with a 13-4 run over the next three minutes to cut the Ocean View lead to five, 54-49, the closest the Timberwolves had been since the midway through the first quarter.
After two free throws from Northwood junior guard Zach Pierce, who finished with a game-high 27 points, Burch hit a straight-away 3-pointer giving Ocean View a six-point advantage with three minutes to play.
Pierce came back with a driving layup plus a foul. He connected on the free throw to bring Northwood back within three with 2:30 to play.
Small showed how wise beyond his years he truly is as he answered Pierce's three-point-play with one of his own on Ocean View's very next possession.
The Seahawks connected on 4 of 4 free throws down the stretch to close out the intense playoff victory.
The Seahawks move on to the Div. IIIA semifinals on Friday against five-star recruit Tyler Dorsey and Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco.