The Ocean View High boys' basketball team played the opening game of its own Jim Harris Memorial Tournament of Champions on Monday afternoon and, at the same time, recorded its first victory of the 2012-13 season.
Ocean View had little trouble with South Gate and cruised to an 83-42 victory. It was only the second game of the season for the Seahawks (1-1), who move on to the championship side of the bracket and will face the winner of Tuesday's Verbum Dei-Dominguez first-round game at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
South Gate goes up against either Verbum Dei or Dominguez at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the consolation side of the bracket.
The Seahawks had little trouble with the Rams on Monday. They took control early, played strong defensively, went to the glass hard and got their transition game going, which they parlayed into easy baskets. They also were able to substitute freely, and nine players reached the scoring column.
"For this team, our focus is on defense and rebounding, and I thought we did both pretty well today," Ocean View Coach Tim Walsh said. "I thought our decision-making was better, and we rebounded a lot better than we did in the Dana Hills game."
Ocean View started its season Nov. 24 with a 67-62 loss to Dana Hills, but the outcome Monday was never in doubt.
The Seahawks scored the first five points of the game. They reached their first double-digit lead (11-2) on two free throws by sophomore guard Kendall Small, the first of his game-high 21 points. They reached their biggest lead (29-11) of the first quarter on two free throws by junior forward Jelani Jackson with 17 seconds left.
Ocean View didn't let up, either. The Seahawks scored the first six points of the second quarter, and went on a 9-0 run midway through the quarter. The run was capped by a three-point shot from the corner by Small which took the lead to 46-16.
The Seahawks led, 57-23, at the half. They further distanced themselves from South Gate by starting the second half with a 14-0 run. A steal and lay-in by senior guard Josh Mishler made it 71-23. They reached their biggest lead of the game, 50 points, at 75-25, with 2:13 left in the third quarter.
"We had such a big lead but we challenged the guys at halftime to come out and continue to play good, fundamental basketball, with respect to our opponent, to start the second half," Walsh said. "We did that, and we only allowed them (South Gate) only two shots in the first three minutes of the half."
Small also came up with seven steals which matched his output in the Nov. 24 loss to Dana Hills. He also led all scorers in that game, with 27 points. Sophomore forward Tyler Burch scored 18 points and junior forward Dillon Reise scored 13 points and collected nine rebounds.
The tournament continues with three more opening-round games Tuesday . Tournament games continue at 3 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.
Teams contending for the tournament title are: Ocean View, South Gate, Mater Dei, John Glenn, Westminster, Warren, West Valley, Crespi, Lynwood, Compton, JSerra, LACES, Clovis West, Verdugo Hills, Verbum Dei, and Dominguez.
6 p.m.: Verbum Dei vs. Dominguez
7:30 p.m.: JSerra vs. LACES
9 p.m.: Clovis West vs. Verdugo Hills