Coach Jimmy Harris said he felt that the Ocean View High boys’ basketball team had been tested during an undefeated Golden West League campaign this season.
The Seahawks again faced a challenge Friday night in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 3AA playoffs by a tall Murrieta Valley team.
Ocean View trailed for much of the first half. But a senior guard who has been playing with a lot of confidence lately ended up coming through for the hosts.
Carson Nguyen scored 23 points as the Seahawks prevailed 64-53.
Ocean View (21-8) will host top-seeded San Pedro Rolling Hills Prep (21-6) in the second round Tuesday night. Rolling Hills Prep beat Los Angeles Price 75-48 in another first-round game.
Murrieta Valley (15-11), the third-place team from the Southwestern League, used a balanced scoring attack and had size inside with 6-foot-8 senior center Kyle Greeley (seven points) and 6-7 junior forward Hudson Brower (10 points).
But Harris highlighted the defensive play of his 6-5 sophomore forward Slater Miller, who finished with four points and a team-best eight rebounds.
“They got their lead because we weren’t rebounding,” said Harris, whose team trailed 25-16 midway through the second quarter but rallied to tie at 31-31 by halftime. “They got offensive rebounds, putbacks, which led to some free throws, too. We started to clean it up in the second half, and Slater Miller was unbelievable defensively.
“He showed some pretty good intensity and awareness on offense, to try and attack and get to the basket. But his defense is what changed the game for us. I mean, we’ve played every type of team you can think of this season — athletic, methodical and now a team with a ton of size. Our team just finds a way to continue to battle back and keep themselves in the game. Somehow, they get it done.”
Senior guard Kurtis Vu added 11 points for the Seahawks, and senior forward Vincent Caiazzo scored seven.
Caiazzo and senior guard Devon Vu (seven points) each battled first-half foul trouble, with two each. But Nguyen was able to pick up the load.
“All of our games [in league] were battles,” Harris said. “The last 12 games that we’ve played were just wars, and I think we’re proving that we can come through in the end because of it.
“The last three weeks, [Nguyen] has played very confident. He didn’t play all summer for us [with torn tendons in his knees] … but he is playing with a ton of confidence right now. He feels healthy.”
CIF Southern Section Division 3AA playoffs
Ocean View 64, Murrieta Valley 53
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Murrieta Valley 15 – 16 – 12 – 10 — 53
Ocean View 11 – 20 – 17 – 16 — 64
MV – Larson 14, Brower 10, Montion 8, Greeley 7, Valencia 4, Hazen 3, Karban 3, Giulietti 3, Anderson 1.
3-pt. goals – Larson 4, Hazen 1, Karban 1.
Fouled out – Hazen, Montion, Valencia.
Technicals – None.
OV – Nguyen 23, K. Vu 18, Caiazzo 11, D. Vu 7, Miller 4, Lopez 1.
3-pt. goals – Nguyen 1, K. Vu 1, Caiazzo 1.
Fouled out – None.