With years of playoff experience, Redondo’s first-year head coach Reggie Morris Jr. has his boys basketball team peaking at just the right time, setting up an opportunity for the Sea Hawks to win a CIF championship and Morris’ third with three different schools.
Second-seeded Redondo won its 15th consecutive game Tuesday, eliminating No. 11 Arroyo Grande with a 55-41 home victory in the semifinals of the Division 2A CIF Southern Section/Ford Division Championships.
Redondo (21-8) will face top-seeded Westlake (27-4) in the championship game at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Morris has turned around a Redondo program that was 10-17 last season and finished fifth in the Bay League before losing a first-round game in the postseason.
Morris spent eight years as head coach of Bay League rival Leuzinger, leading the Olympians to a CIF title in 2010. The following two seasons, Morris amassed a 50-17 record at St. Bernard, capturing a CIF championship in 2011.
Senior guard Derek Biale recorded 15 points, including four 3-pointers, along with four rebounds, four steals and four assists in Redondo’s win over Arroyo Grande.
Junior guard Ian Fox scored a game-high 16 points and helped Redondo outscore Arroyo Grande 17-6 in the second quarter to give the Sea Hawks a league they would not relinquish.
In the other semifinal game, Westlake fought back from a 26-16 halftime deficit to defeat No. 5 Tesoro 60-51. The Warriors are led by Larry Bush and Marcos Soto.
In Division 2AA, Mira Costa (22-10) reached new heights this season by advancing to the semifinals for the first time in a quarter century. But it was the height of top-seeded J.W. North (Riverside) players that ended the Mustang’s deep run in the playoffs.
Led by 6-foot-8, 220-pound center Adrian Hughes and 6-foot-6, 225-pound forward Dorian Butler, J.W. North (27-3) won its 13th consecutive game by eliminating visiting Mira Costa 80-55. The Huskies will face No. 3 Villa Park (24-6) in Saturday’s championship game at 4 p.m.
Mira Costa head coach Jeff Amaral said he was proud of his team and the success it enjoyed this season.
“The Bay League certainly prepped us for our run in the playoffs,” Amaral said. “We also played a pretty challenging pre-season schedule especially in our tournaments by facing Brentwood, Lawndale, Harvard-Westlake and Chino Hills. In practice, the guys were extremely competitive and we had a great week leading up to our first playoff game versus Cathedral City that has helped us for the last two weeks.”
Junior forward Justin Strings scored a game-high 24 points and had eight rebounds and Cole Feaster added 11 points for Mira Costa.
Lady Sea Hawks lose
Sixth-seeded Redondo gave second-seeded Murrieta Valley all it could handle Tuesday, falling short in a 60-56 overtime time loss in the semifinals of Division 2A Championships.
Coach Marcelo Enriquez’s Sea Hawks had opportunities, holding a 13-11 lead at the end of the first quarter and going on a 10-2 run to start the second half to produce a 36-32 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Inara Nyingifa led Redondo recording 31 points, 12 rebounds and four steals. Bella Hall added 10 points and eight rebounds for the Sea Hawks who finished the season with a 20-11 record.
Murrieta Valley (25-5) takes on fourth-seeded Culver City in the championship game Friday at 3:30 p.m. at the Anaheim Convention Center. Culver City (24-5) edged top-seeded Orange Lutheran 42-40 in the semifinals.