Ocean View High School qualified for its first Southern Section basketball championship in the school's seven-year history as the Seahawks rolled to a 61-48 victory over Long Beach Poly Wednesday night in front of 4,117 fans at the Long Beach Arena.
The Seahawks (24-3) will meet the winner of Thursday night's Mater Dei-Serra semifinal game for the 5-A division title Saturday night in the same arena. Defending State champion Poly finished the season with a 19-8 record, the first time in 10 seasons that the Jackrabbits have failed to win 20 games.
Rookie Coach Chris Kinder will most likely hear from his critics following the loss to Ocean View. Kinder replaced 11-year veteran Ron Palmer, who had a 7-0 record in semifinal games.
But the Jackrabbits were no match for an Ocean View team that features a sophomore and two juniors in the starting lineup. Poly made only four shots from beyond the 12-foot range and had managed to make only 12 of 42 shots going into the final quarter.
Kinder might have overlooked the Seahawks. He told reporters after an impressive 72-48 win over St. Anthony that his team was the one to beat for the title.
"We want to show people we belong there," he said. "We are the defending champions. No one has taken our crown away. People have to beat us."
And that's just what Ocean View did.
Sophomore center Ricky Butler and senior forward Dave Straight were forces on the boards. Junior point guard Blaine DeBrouwer directed the offense well and led all scorers with 19 points. It was a typical Ocean View win, at least in the box score, with all five starters contributing.
Still, Ocean View Coach Jim Harris was looking for more.
"I'm searching for something that looked good offensively," he said. "We blew so many opportunities. I'm sure my players aren't very happy with themselves.
"We wanted to be in the next game real bad because we should be. It was a pretty conservative game, but our defense was pretty awesome."
The Seahawks enjoyed a 23-14 halftime lead because of some miserable shooting by Long Beach Poly. The Jackrabbits made 6 of 28 shots in the half and had only one field goal from beyond the 12-foot range.
Ocean View's 1-3-1 and 1-2-2 zones were effective in limiting the Purry brothers--Cedric and Andre--to only three points in the half. The Jackrabbits continually got only one shot, usually missed, and then either Butler or Straight got the rebound. Butler finished with 13 rebounds and Straight had 8.