Woodbridge High School, getting its 17th straight victory, won the boys' Division II Southern California Regional Saturday night by defeating Saugus, 65-53, in the Sports Arena.
The Warriors (27-5) made it look easy, opening an 18-point lead in the third quarter and holding off Saugus in the fourth. The loss ended Saugus' surprising postseason tournament play. The Centurions (23-10) had entered the Southern Section playoffs as the Golden League's third-place team.
Woodbridge will meet DeAnza of Richmond for the state Division II title Saturday in the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum Arena. DeAnza won the Northern California title, defeating Aptos, 72-65.
"I think this team is improving with every game," said Bill Shannon, Woodbridge coach. "Each opponent gets a little better, and we keep winning."
Woodbridge took control late in the first half. Guard David Townsend made three consecutive jump shots to help give Warriors a 23-12 led with 3:04 remaining.
Saugus scored only 14 points in the first half, hitting 7 of 28 shots. The Warriors' pressure defense and height advantage were simply too much.
"Every time we shot, there was a hand in our face, and usually it was a pretty large hand," said John Clark, Saugus coach. "Woodbridge is mighty big inside, and we only got one shot. Our offense was terrible in the first half."
Forward Vince Bryan, playing one of his best games of the season, led all scorers with 20 points and had 7 rebounds. Bryan was 10 of 16 from the field. Townsend finished with 16 points, and Adam Keefe added 15 points and 13 rebounds.
Townsend got the Warriors rolling in the first half, and Bryan made the big plays in the fourth quarter when Saugus rallied. The Centurions twice closed to within eight, but each time Bryan scored.
"Every time we'd make a run in the second half, Bryan would make a jumper," Clark said.
The Centurions' objective was to contain Keefe, who averaged 24.3 points and 17 rebounds in six playoff games. Two or three Saugus players surrounded Keefe most of the game, which left Townsend and Bryan open.
"They gave me the open shot," Townsend said. "They were packing it (zone defense) in big time on Adam, and I was wide open."
Defensively, the Warriors mixed a matchup zone with man-to-man pressure that kept Saugus off balance. The Centurions made only 34% of their shots, and forward Rusty Morse was the only player to finish in double figures with 12 points.
"They execute their offense so well, I thought we had better mix up our defenses so they couldn't get comfortable in their offense," Shannon said. "But if somebody had told me we'd be up by 16 points at halftime, I would have said, 'Great.'
"Vince is definitely at the top of his game right now. He's increased his scoring and rebounding since the middle of league play."