Millikan High School of Long Beach, using a 12-4 run at the start of the fourth quarter to take control, defeated Moore League rival Lakewood, 67-57, Wednesday night in the Southern Section 5-A semifinals at the Sports Arena, putting the Rams in Saturday night's championship game against Santa Ana Mater Dei.
Lakewood hung close most of the way despite the early loss of star Duane Cooper with what was diagnosed during halftime as a possible stress fracture of the left foot. Cooper watched the final two quarters, as a precautionary measure, sitting in a wheelchair.
Millikan (24-3) outscored Lakewood (19-8) by 11 points in the fourth quarter, 25-14, to put the game away.
Cooper, bound for USC, began the night having scored 20 points or more in 24 of the 26 games this season and was leading Lakewood in scoring with 19 points a game. But even with him out for most of the first half with the foot injury, the Lancers, the third-place team out of the Moore League, trailed by only one point at the intermission, 27-26.
Cooper went to the sideline 2:09 into the game, sat virtually alone at the end of the bench for most of the first two quarters and finally made a limping exit to the locker room with three minutes left in the half. By halftime, he had spent more time with the medical staff than with his teammates.