Ray Johnson Coaches Last Game

Boys basketball mentor Ray Johnson of Oceanside El Camino coaches his last game 33 years after taking over the Wildcats’ program. El Camino’s season ends in first round SoCal Division I regional on road against Mission Viejo. Johnson set to join new LMU coaching staff.

Even though his team lost a winnable game to Mission Viejo on the road in the first round of the SoCal Div. I regional playoffs, coach Ray Johnson of El Camino Oceanside cracked a slight smile after a quick reflection.

“It feels great when you do it for the right reason,” Johnson said. “I always wanted to get my kids to play hard and be successful individuals. The greatest accomplishment I have is when the kids come back and tell me how well their doing. It’s been a great ride.”

Johnson is set to join the new coaching staff of Loyola Marymount University. New coach Mike Dunlap offered Johnson a job as he said he would if he ever got a college coaching gig on the West Coast.

Johnson took a one-year sabbatical from coaching at El Camino during the 2009-10 season and was on the staff of Fairleigh Dickinson in New Jersey that season. Johnson leaves the high school game as the all-time coaching wins leader in San Diego Section history with 761 on-court wins against 226 losses. Johnson won eight section titles in his tenure.

El Camino hadn’t lost this calendar year until blowing a seven-point lead with 58 seconds remaining in regulation and losing in overtime, 62-61, to La Costa Canyon in the San Diego Section Open Division semifinals. On Wednesday night against CIF Southern Section Div. I-AA runner-up Mission Viejo, El Camino was quickly hampered by the foul trouble of junior wing Quen Meadows and saw its season come to an end in a 79-72 loss. The Wildcats’ best defender, Meadows has three fouls in the first quarter and trailed 38-27 at halftime.

Even though El Camino had trouble containing Boise State-bound wing Chandler Hutchinson, who had 16 points and six rebounds in the first half, it temporarily took a 54-53 with 6:49 remaining on Meadows’ made free throw. Mission Viejo took control down the stretch, however, as the Wildcats suffered some crucial turnovers in the closing minutes.

Hutchinson finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds for Mission Viejo (25-8). Unsigned senior guard Devin Watson led El Camino (27-5)  in a losing effort with 23 points.

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