El Camino College proved Wednesday night in its South Coast Conference basketball opener against Long Beach City College why it's the top-ranked team in Southern California.
The Warriors improved their record to 17-1 by defeating the Vikings, 101-69, in El Camino's North Gym.
"We used to do good against them," said Long Beach Coach Bill Fraser. "But in the last couple of years they've really cleaned our clocks."
That's pretty much the way it went for Long Beach, which is ranked eighth in Southern California with a 12-7 record. The Vikings were simply outdone in every aspect of the game.
"There's no doubt they have fine athletes who come in and pour in the baskets," Fraser said. "But we didn't play any kind of basketball as a team. We were just a bunch of individuals running around."
El Camino's defense held Long Beach to 28 points in the first half by forcing two three-minute scoreless periods. It seemed like every time the Vikings managed to get the ball inside, they still couldn't make it go through the hoop. El Camino had a 50-28 lead at intermission.
"I was shocked," said El Camino Coach Paul Landreaux. "I really thought they'd play us better. This was just too easy for an opening league game."
Offensively the Warriors also had the answer and not only because they outscored Long Beach by 22 points in the first half and most of their players can dunk. But on Wednesday it was especially because of Charles White.
The 6-foot-7 forward, who will play at Purdue next year, had 14 first-half points and ended the night with a game-high 26. White was averaging 18 points and 9 rebounds going into the game. "I really felt good tonight," White said. "My jumper wasn't going in, but I was dunking and playing good defense."
In the second half, El Camino held Long Beach to 41 points while scoring 51.
Demetrius Camper, a 6-6 center/forward, was the Vikings' best scorer with 16.
The Warriors will probably get a better challenge at home Friday when they play Compton, the only team that has beaten them this season. Landreaux downplayed the revenge factor, saying he would look at game films of their last meeting "and hopefully do better."
If El Camino players are looking for pay-back, they're keeping it low key. White said they have been cautioned against making inflammatory remarks, but added, "The last time it was a really physical game. This time it'll be a revenge game."