Forwards Tim Stowe and Jason Arquisch forged a strong inside game Wednesday night to help West Torrance reach the finals of the Torrance Basketball Tournament with a 60-55 victory over Compton at South Torrance High.
It was the seventh straight win for the Warriors (9-3), who will meet St. Monica for the championship at 7:30 Saturday night at South.
Stowe, a 6-foot-3 senior, scored 23 points and grabbed 9 rebounds, while Arquisch, a 6-1 senior, contributed 14 points and 6 rebounds.
West worked the ball inside effectively, scoring most of its points within five feet of the basket.
"That's part of our offense, to get the ball into Stowe," said West Coach Dan McGee. "Tim did a good job. He's a steady force."
Another steadying influence for the Warriors was senior point guard Denny Hocking, who played a fine all-around game with 10 points, 9 assists and 4 steals.
Compton first-year Coach Tony Carter chalked the loss up to inexperience.
"We're a young team and we've been struggling," said Carter, a former assistant at Torrance High and Cal State Dominguez Hills. "Our post defense needs a lot of work."
Although West appeared close to taking command of the game at several times, the Warriors were never able to shake scrappy Compton (3-5).
Two free throws by Hocking built West's lead to 56-47 with 2:56 remaining, but the Tarbabes weren't through.
A three-point shot by forward Leonard Speed cut Compton's deficit to 58-53 with 32 seconds left. Then, following a steal, forward Terrance Adams sank a layup to make it a three-point game with 16 seconds left.
West called a timeout with 12 seconds left. Instead of trying to bring the ball up court against Compton's press, Hocking fired a long pass to Stowe, who scored on a breakaway layup to secure the game and the team's win streak.
"We're trying to build a little momentum going into league," said McGee, whose team opens Bay League play Jan. 8 against South. "We're playing better as a team lately. We're playing with more intensity."
After a 16-16 deadlock in the first quarter, West took the lead for good in the second quarter behind the inside scoring of Arquisch. The bulky forward, who scored seven points in the period, muscled his way for two straight baskets to give the Warriors a 28-23 advantage with 3:10 left in the half.
West made 13 of 20 free throw attempts in the second half to help maintain its lead, and the Warriors did a good job of breaking the press.
Compton was hurt when center Trenton Gates fouled out with 5:20 left. The Tarbabes were led by Speed and Adams with 15 points each.
St. Monica 62, Hawthorne 52--Senior guard Jason Joe scored a game-high 31 points to lead the Mariners (8-5) to an easy win in the Torrance Tournament semifinals.
St. Monica opened a 21-7 lead after the first quarter and had the game well in hand after three periods, 55-38. The Mariners held a big advantage on the boards, with 6-6 Gordon Cubley grabbing 14 rebounds and 6-5 Donovan Green pulling down 12.
Hawthorne, which had no players score in double figures, fell to 4-4. Tony Scott and Randy Lavender each scored eight points for the Cougars.
Segundo 58, Narbonne 48--Junior forward Shawn Foster had 15 points and 10 rebounds and guard Jeremy Argo scored 16 points for the Eagles (4-5) in a fifth-place semifinal of the Torrance Tournament.
Heath Jones and Kenny Talanoa each had 14 rebounds for El Segundo, which will play Mira Costa at 4:30 Saturday in the fifth-place final.
Mira Costa 63, North Torrance 54--Ryan Campbell scored 20 points and Shawn Herbkersman added 16 to lead the Mustangs (2-5). North fell to 2-8.
South Torrance 63, Redondo 43--Steve Fernandez and Larry Modena each had 17 points for the Spartans in the consolation semifinals. South improved to 4-6 while Redondo dropped to 5-7.