Brea-Olinda High School Coach Rick Jones knew that junior forward Keith Walker would have to be a major factor for his team to remain in the Southern Section 3-A boys' basketball playoffs.
Walker had a game-high 22 points against Morningside Wednesday in a quarterfinal game, but scored only four in the second half, and Morningside beat the Wildcats, 75-72, at Sonora High School.
"Keith just didn't shoot well in the second half," Jones said. "Morningside did a good job keeping him away from the basket, and that made a big difference."
Morningside (21-4), the Ocean League champions, will play Corona del Mar Friday in the semifinals. Brea-Olinda, which finished second in the Orange League, ends its season with a 21-8 record.
Walker had nearly unstoppable in Brea-Olinda's previous playoff games, scoring 64 points.
Morningside, which has won 19 games in a row, shuffled players into the lineup every few minutes to guard Walker, and that tactic worked down the stretch.
The Wildcats held a 36-34 halftime lead, but Morningside started to connect on three-point field goals in the third quarter. Senior guard Jonathan Madison, who finished with a team-high 14 points, made three three-pointers in the second half.
With 14 seconds left, Brea-Olinda cut the lead to 74-70 on a free throw by senior guard David Dittman. But that was a close as the Wildcats could get as Morningside ran out the clock.
"I thought we should have played more effectively inside," Morningside Coach Carl Franklin said. "We made some mistakes early in the game, but we ironed things out in the second half. We were able to come through with a nice victory."
Brea-Olinda's Matt Chamberlain had 17 points and nine rebounds.
James Westbrook scored 10 points and Chris Vance nine for the Monarchs.