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LBHC: Hot-shooting Fortuna downs host Blazers at Classic
There are hot-shooting nights, and then there was the shooting exhibition Fortuna High put on in the second round of the ninth annual Lindhurst Blazer Holiday Classic on Friday.
No matter what host Lindhurst did defensively — and the Blazers tried everything — the Huskies simply didn't miss, and as a result, the kids from Humboldt County will play in tonight's championship game.
Led by a strong all-around game by 6-foot-4 sophomore Nate Ambrosini, the Huskies shot an uncanny 25 of 39 from the field including a blistering 8 of 12 from behind the arc to cruise to a 67-51 victory over the Blazers.
Fortuna set the tone early by connecting on its first three 3-pointers of the game to jump out to a quick 9-0 lead and never looked back, building a 20-point cushion early in the fourth period before holding off a Lindhurst run late.
It was shooting excellence at its best, and the performance left first-year Blazer coach Rick Wise shaking his head after the game.
"We played great defense, boxed out and they just knocked them down," Wise said. "I've never seen a shooting performance like that before. They literally shot the lights out of the ball."
While Fortuna (10-3) shot a terrific 62 percent from inside the arc, their 75 percent shooting from 3-point range was the difference. Whether with a hand in their face or taking a wide-open jumper, the Huskies continually hit their shots and there wasn't much the Blazers could've done.
"We try to attack, but we shoot the 3s when they're given to us," Fortuna coach Joe Rice said. "We have kids that can shoot, but we usually don't get the shots we got tonight."
Senior guard Devin Ward swiped four steals and led the way for Lindhurst (8-7) by hitting four 3-pointers en route to a game-high 27 points.
His spinning layup in the key cut the lead to 11 with 4:10 remaining, however, Ambrosini scored six of his team-best 23 points down the stretch to help Fortuna pull away and close out the victory.
Point guard Cedrick Thomas added 15 points, nine rebounds and five steals for the Blazers with all of his points coming in the second half.
Colton Betts had 12 points and Daniel Teasley chipped in with 11 to help the cause for Fortuna, which used its height advantage and great ball movement to get consistent good looks at the basket.
"They're a well-disciplined team, so we knew we had our hands full coming in," Wise said. "We're playing good basketball and we play with a lot of heart. We'll bounce back tomorrow."
Lindhurst will play River Valley in the third-place game today at 6:30 p.m., while Fortuna will take on Rio Linda in the championship game at 8 p.m.