“We don’t try to intentionally ugly-up a game,” Newport Harbor Coach Larry Hirst said with a laugh after his team completed a league sweep of the Barons (9-13, 1-5) to open the second half of the Sunset schedule. “But it seems the muckier we get the waters, the better we do in that environment for some reason.”
The Sailors had eight of their 26 turnovers in the second quarter, with seven of those spurring a span of 4:43 without a field goal.
“We had 13 turnovers in the first half and I think they were all self-inflicted,” Hirst said. “But despite ourselves, we had a [23-16] lead at halftime. There are periods when we can go on an 8-0 run and there are periods when we can go on a four-turnover run.”
Fortunately for the Tars, their defense helped prohibit the Barons from achieving much cohesion themselves. The visitors had 14 of their 24 turnovers in the first half and finished shooting 37% from the field (17 for 46).
In addition, Fountain Valley missed 10 of 13 foul shots (23.1%), to help the Sailors hold off an early fourth-quarter surge that trimmed a 37-25 lead at the end of the third period to 41-26 with 2:23 remaining.
But then senior Trevor Davis hit a free throw for the hosts and, after a Sailors’ timeout on their ensuing possession, senior guard Chris Anderson buried a wide-open three-pointer to give the Tars a nine-point cushion with 1:37 left.
Newport, which was six for 18 from the free-throw line in its Jan. 22 loss to Edison, Hirst said, made four of six from the line in the closing 67 seconds to end a three-game losing streak.
Newport was 12 for 20 from the foul line and 17 of 37 from the field (46%), the latter including a 53.3% clip after halftime (eight for 15).
Cody Caldwell, a 6-foot-6 junior, led the winners with 12 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots.
Anderson had seven of his 10 points in the final 6:35, while starters Austin Bagby, Chad Seeber and Ethan Ayers chipped in seven points apiece.
Hirst acknowledged the importance of the win and getting back to .500.
“Head goes under water, nose comes out,” Hirst said. “Head goes under water, nose comes out.”
The Sailors, who missed the CIF Southern Section playoffs last season, will now try to continue stroking toward one of the league’s three guaranteed postseason berths.
The Sailors, who never trailed Friday, visit Esperanza for another league contest Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Newport Harbor 49, Fountain Valley 39
SCORE BY QUARTERS
FV – Pham 11, Daquila 9, Chamaa 6, Matar 5, Renth 4, B. Moss 2, Ghasemi 2.
3-pt. goals – Daquila 1, Pham 1.
Fouled out – None.
Technicals – None.
NH – Caldwell 12, Anderson 10, Bagby 7, Seeber 7, Ayers 7, Friend 4, Davis 2.
3-pt. goals – Anderson 2, Seeber 1.
Fouled out – None.