Walker Scores 34 as Brea Breezes Past Morningside, 78-55

Times Staff Writer

And to think Brea-Olinda High School basketball Coach Gene Lloyd said he would have been happy with a one-point win.

Instead, thanks to Kevin Walker, Brea beat Morningside by 23 points, 78-55, in a CIF Southern Section 3-A quarterfinal game in Sonora's gym Friday to advance to next week's semifinals against top-seeded Ganesha.

Walker scored 34 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and blocked 5 shots to help the Wildcats dump the defending 3-A champions with surprising ease.

Walker came out firing from long range, scoring 17 of his team's first 20 points to stake the Wildcats to a 20-11 first-quarter lead, something that they would never relinquish.

By the half, Walker had 26 points--versus only 23 for the entire Morninside team--putting the Wildcats comfortably ahead, 43-23.

"Right now, Kevin Walker is the best basketball player in the CIF (Southern Section)--whatever level you're talking about," Lloyd said.

"I want to emphasize that the entire team played well, though. When Walker was out with foul trouble, we lost only four points on the scoreboard. But as you can see, we're a much better team with him than without him."

The UCLA-bound Walker spent much of the third quarter on the bench after drawing his fourth foul, allowing Morningside to outscore Brea, 14-10, but that only cut the margin to 53-37, and the Monarchs didn't have the scoring or defense to overtake the Wildcats after that.

As an offensive player, the nimble, 6-foot 10-inch Walker poses a multiple threat for opposing teams to defend. Morningside never quite figured out what to do with him.

Asked whether Walker has a specific play to run each time down the court, Lloyd replied, "We just let him go anywhere he wants to go and shoot the ball."

Walker read the defense and did just that with remarkable success.

When Walker scored early on several 25- to 30-foot jump shots, the Monarchs eventually came out to meet him with two defenders. He then simply ran by the defense, scoring from the inside as readily as he did from the outside.

And as if to emphasize that the Wildcats would not be pushed around by the more physical Monarchs, Walker even stole the ball once in his 17-point first quarter, drove the length of the court and jammed the ball through the hoop with two defenders on his back.

Morningside has an outstanding center of its own in 6-9 Elden Campbell, and he played an inspired game, totaling 27 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocked shots. The difference between Walker and Campbell in this meeting was that Walker had much more help from his supporting cast.

Brea forward Mike Tousey scored 21 points and Vince Francis added 10. Tousey's points came on rebounds and outside jump shots, and most of Francis' points came off fast-break layups.

Those 31 points from Tousey and Francis helped take some pressure off Walker, especially helping to pick up the slack when Walker went to the bench with foul trouble in the third quarter.

Campbell, meanwhile, didn't get as much help from his teammates. Leon Covington (12 points) was the only other Monarch to score in double figures Friday.

The win gave Brea (25-4) a school-record 16 consecutive victories as well as its most victories in a season. Morningside ended its season at 18-8.

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