The holiday break is over and for the most part, so is nonleague play in boys' and girls' basketball. This week, league races started to unfold.

Brethren Christian got a start on the other local teams by beginning Academy League play Wednesday. The Edison, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach and Marina girls' teams all launch their Sunset League schedules Thursday and the boys' league title chase begins Friday. Also on Friday, the Ocean View boys' team opens Golden West League play and the Ocean View girls' team makes its league debut Tuesday.

"League is as wide open as I can remember," said Edison boys' Coach Rich Boyce, whose Chargers are defending Sunset champions. "Every team is playing well and has a shot."

Fountain Valley boys' Coach Roger Holmes agreed.

"This year, more than any other in recent memory, the teams are incredibly balanced. Every team in league can win on a given night and you have to be physically and mentally ready to play 10 close games. It is going to be a tight race all the way through."


Boys' Basketball

Brethren Christian: The Warriors reached the championship game of the MaxPreps Holiday Classic (Small Schools Division) last week, where they fell, 65-58, to LACES (Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies). BC won its three previous tournament games over Desert Chapel (78-28), Joshua Springs (71-49) and Desert Mirage (65-49). Junior post Mamadou Ndiaye and senior guard Billy Bryson of BC were named to the all-tournament team.

The Warriors opened Academy League play on Wednesday and play their next league game at 8 p.m. Saturday at Crean Lutheran in Irvine.

BC, which was 11-5 entering Wednesday's league opener at Whitney, has won three straight league titles.

"We played a tough and challenging nonleague schedule, which should have us very prepared for Academy League play," BC Coach Jon Bahnsen said. "I think our chances are good to repeat for a fourth straight year as league champs. It will come down to continuing to play good defense and also staying healthy."

Edison: The Chargers won their second tournament of the season Friday by defeating Moorpark, 56-50, in the final of the MaxPreps Invitational at Cathedral City. Senior guards Dreon Barlett and Corey Foster scored 52 of the Chargers' points, with Barlett hitting six three-pointers en route to a game-high 30 points. Foster scored 22 and went on to be named tournament MVP.

Edison advanced to the title game by beating Patriot, 54-37, on Dec. 29. Foster scored 22 points, Barlett 16 and senior guard Cade Hernandez had 11 points. The Chargers opened the tournament with a 54-32 drubbing of Los Osos on Dec. 27 and Foster poured in 26 points and Barlett 24 to lead nine Chargers in the scoring column in a 69-24 romp against Desert Hot Springs on Dec. 28.

Edison (13-2) begins defense of its Sunset League championship at home at 7 p.m. Friday against Newport Harbor.

Fountain Valley: The Barons went to Florida last week for the KSA Tournament and won the consolation bracket title. Senior forward Nathan Moss and senior guard Zack Richartz were named all-tournament for the Barons, who are 11-3.

The Barons visit Huntington Beach on Friday (7 p.m.) in a Sunset League opener for both teams.

Huntington Beach: The Oilers finished up play at the Orange Holiday Classic with a 53-27 rout of Esperanza to win the consolation championship at Chapman University in Orange. Four Oilers scored in double figures, led by junior forward Harley Ruder's 13 points. Both Ruder and Blake Skorich were selected to the all-tournament team.

On Monday, Huntington had a tough fourth quarter against visiting Mission Viejo and fell, 71-62. Ruder scored 24 points in the loss.

Huntington (9-6) launches its Sunset League schedule at 7 p.m. Friday at home against Fountain Valley.

"I feel like we really challenged ourselves in nonleague play," Oilers Coach Fabian Luna said. "We have played teams that would win our league, hands down, and competed very well. We feel very confident coming into league play that we are prepared to compete for a league championship."