Wednesday night's Boys Division II Southern Regional at Cal State Dominguez Hills was a contrast in basketball theory. El Camino of Oceanside chose the tenacious, concerted method; Murphy chose the unabided rush-to-the-hoop method. Tenacity won out, easily.
El Camino (26-3), playing a patient outside game while staying tight inside, beat Murphy, 58-45, and will face Hacienda Heights Wilson in Saturday's regional final.
It figured to be a tough front-line contest and it was, but the offensive absence of Arthur Phillips made it even more difficult for Murphy. Phillips, a 6-9 center, had nine blocked shots on defense but managed only four points while committing numerous unforced turnovers.
That made things easy for Steve Heard and Nate Reed. Heard, a 6-4 junior forward, scored 15 points, including two through-the-lane dunks in traffic. Reed (6-7), scored 11, and Ken Crawford (6-6) and Edmond Johnson each had 10 points.
Randy Hale, a 5-10 guard who confused 5-6 Murphy ballhandler Andre Gougis, controlled the Wildcats' patient offensive tempo and added 10 points.
"It was a good team effort," said El Camino Coach Ray Johnson. "Nate Reed came out and gave us what we needed in the begining, and as long as we knew we could play ball with him (Phillips) we were OK."
Reed found no problems with Phillips. "At the begining of the game, I just took it at him," Reed said. "I realized that I could score on him."
The Wildcats shot well from all sides. Even if Murphy had been able to find a successful trend in its random play, it could do nothing about the 22-of-26 free-throw shooting by El Camino. Murphy shot 9 of 16 from the line.
El Camino used a defense designed to confuse the Nobles, and it did, especially in the first half. The Wildcats trapped in the backcourt, then immediately fell into a 2-3 zone, forcing several Murphy turnovers around the half-court line.
El Camino led by only a point at the end of the first quarter but limited Murphy to only six points in the second and held a 26-18 advantage at the half.
Kenyatta Kalysana scored Murphy's first six points and finished with 14, but he picked up three fouls in the first half and eventually fouled out with 3:42 remaining.
Reed had freedom inside against the awkward Phillips and had nine points in the first half, while Heard had seven.
Murphy, the Southern Section 2-A champion, finished at 20-8.