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Kurtis Vu's shooting leads Ocean View boys' basketball into Jim Harris Classic semifinals

Kurtis Vu's shooting leads Ocean View boys' basketball into Jim Harris Classic semifinals
Ocean View High forward Vincent Caiazzo gets in the lane to shoot a layup during a pool-play game against visiting Los Angeles Central City Value in the Jim Harris Classic on Thursday. (Jeff Antenore)

A casual observer who watched the Ocean View High boys’ basketball team on Thursday night might come away thinking that the Seahawks are a run-and-gun team that is in love with the three-pointer.

That is not necessarily what Jimmy Harris has known the program to be in his time as a player for, then a co-coach with, his father, Jim Harris, before Jim passed away in 2011 due to cancer.

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Jimmy came back to lead the Seahawks after spending the last six years as an assistant coach. The first tournament of the season bears the name of his late father, the Jim Harris Classic.

The Seahawks reached the semifinals of their host tournament Thursday, winning their pool after an 85-59 win over Los Angeles Central City Value at home. Senior guard Kurtis Vu made eight three-pointers and finished with a game-high 24 points.

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Jim Harris is a big namesake for our school. It means a lot to be playing in this tournament and go this far. We just want to keep grinding.


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Yet, Jimmy Harris definitely saw room for improvement for Ocean View (2-0), which hosts Compton Dominguez in a tournament semifinal Friday at 7:30 p.m.

“Obviously, Kurtis caught fire in the first half [with six three-pointers],” Harris said. “If he doesn’t catch fire in the first half, this is a different game and much closer. But that’s not what we want our identity to be. Our calling card needs to be defense and rebounding and toughness. I wanted to get that message across to them. That’s what Ocean View basketball was built on. That’s the foundation, what we’ve prided ourselves on. Hopefully we can get back to that.”

Senior forward Vincent Caiazzo added 21 points and 12 rebounds for Ocean View. Vu’s cousin, senior guard Devon Vu, scored eight, while sophomore forward Slater Miller had six points and nine rebounds.

Kurtis Vu, a first-year varsity player, came out firing. He made five three-pointers in the opening quarter.

“My teammates were able to create for me,” Vu said. “When I got the ball and I was open, I just shot. I can go on some streaks here and there. I like to think I can shoot, but it’s not something I base my game off of. I try to be an all-around player.”

Junior forward Rodney Gillory kept Central City Value (0-2) in the game. He scored 12 of his game-high 25 points in the second quarter, and the Jaguars trailed just 41-31 at halftime.

But Ocean View started the third quarter on a 12-2 run, highlighted by two more triples from Kurtis Vu.

“[Central City Value senior guard Nathan Cardoza, who scored 18 points] and [Gillory] were both pretty good at getting into the key,” Harris said. “I think our help-side [defense] was lacking a little bit, and that hurt us at times. I thought we did a better job toward the middle of the third quarter. Carson Nguyen did a really good job of stepping up and defending [Cardoza], bothering him on the drive a little bit more. That helped.”

Ocean View High point guard Carson Nguyen dribbles the ball up the floor against visiting Los Angeles Central City Value in the Jim Harris Classic on Thursday.
Ocean View High point guard Carson Nguyen dribbles the ball up the floor against visiting Los Angeles Central City Value in the Jim Harris Classic on Thursday. (Jeff Antenore)

Harris said that Ocean View will have to play better defensively to hang with Dominguez. But his young team, which features just three varsity returners from last year in Caiazzo, Nguyen and Miller, should be fired up to play in the semifinals of the Jim Harris Classic.

The elder Harris coached at Ocean View for 33 years. He won 665 games, 19 league titles and two CIF Southern Section championships.

“Jim Harris is a big namesake for our school,” Caiazzo said. “It means a lot to be playing in this tournament and go this far. We just want to keep grinding.”

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Jim Harris Classic

Pool play

Ocean View 85, Los Angeles Central City Value 59

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Central City Value 15 – 16 – 15 – 13 — 59

Ocean View 21 – 20 – 22 – 22 — 85

CCV – Gillory 25, Cardoza 18, Antonio 15, Moreno 1.

3-pt. goals – Gillory 2, Cardoza 1, Antonio 1.

Fouled out – None.

Technicals – None.

OV – K. Vu 24, Caiazzo 21, D. Vu 8, Nguyen 7, Miller 6, Lopez 5, Washington 5, Bartle 4, Kim 3, Balsaldua 2.

3-pt. goals – K. Vu 8, Caiazzo 4, Miller 1, Washington 1, Kim 1.

Fouled out – None.

Technicals – None.

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