For Coach Scott Kay and his San Bernardino High School boys’ basketball team, the problem is immense.
Glendora High School’s Tracy Murray is a 6-foot-8 forward.
He is the nation’s leading scorer--averaging 45 points a game--and the state’s all-time single-season and career-scoring leader with 1,306 and 2,845 points, respectively.
He plays effectively in close or on the perimeter.
San Bernardino (29-0), the only remaining undefeated team in the Southern Section playoffs, has the difficult task of containing Murray and Glendora in the 4-AA championship game at 8:15 tonight at UC Irvine.
Dominguez (23-4) and Artesia (21-5) will play in the 4-A title game at 6:30.
The doubleheader in the 5,200-seat Bren Center is sold out, but a Southern Section official said he expected a few hundred tickets to be available after 3:30 today.
San Bernardino knows what it will take to win tonight.
“You are not going to stop a player like Tracy Murray,” Kay said. “You just try and make him work for every shot.”
Kay said he will use both 6-2 Doug Howard, his best defensive player, and 6-7 forward Brian Russell against Murray. Ray Owes, a 6-8 sophomore center, also could be used to front Murray.
“We will really help ourselves by taking high percentage shots and by making Murray play somebody on defense,” Kay said.
Glendora Coach Mike LeDuc views San Bernardino with some trepidation.
“What problems won’t they present?” he asked. “They are a very strong team with lots of talent. You can’t focus on just one or two players. There is not a whole lot you can do with just three days to prepare. We will just try to do the things we do best and contain them.”
Although Murray is effective in close, it is his soft jump shot in the 20- to 30-foot range that is impressive. When Murray finds himself double and triple teamed he is equally adept at finding the open man.
Russell, who has signed a national letter of intent with Cal State Long Beach, is San Bernardino’s best all-around player, averaging 19.2 points per game and 12 rebounds. Carlos Dew, a 6-4 senior, is also a returning starter.
LeDuc thinks his team is 28-1 because his four remaining starters--forward J.J. Laughlin, 6-6 center Alan Thompson and guards Corey Smith and Chris Walker--are role players.
“They are so unselfish,” he said. “They must have taken 10 charge calls in our last game. They play defense and do all the little things that you need to do to win.”
The teams have had two common opponents. Riverside Poly lost to Glendora, 64-56, and to San Bernardino, 60-54. Ramona lost to Glendora, 76-60, and to San Bernardino, 73-52. Glendora’s only loss was to Moreno Valley, 92-83, in the third game of the season.
The Dominguez-Artesia game will feature 6-7 forward Ed O’Bannon of Artesia who is considered the state’s best junior. O’Bannon is averaging 29.5 points and 13 rebounds per game. Sophomore DeAndra Austin, a 6-3 guard, has also been effective, particularly in the playoffs.
Dominguez will counter with a front line of Dijon Bernard, Xavier Edison and Derrick Thomas, all of whom are averaging more than 10 points per game.
In two Southern Section girls’ games tonight, Santa Maria St. Joseph (20-5) plays Morro Bay (18-7) at San Luis Obispo High in the 2-AA final, and Santa Clara (23-1) meets Santa Ynez (20-5) at Lompoc High in the 2-A final.
Both games are rematches. St. Joseph defeated Morro Bay three times, most recently, 49-39, and Santa Clara beat Santa Ynez twice, 47-41 and 37-29.