Whitney High School of Cerritos was routed again Saturday--mismatched, overwhelmed and left to wonder what other indignities must befall the Southern Section Small Schools basketball champion other than a yearly thrashing by Santa Monica Crossroads.
Crossroads, the two-time Southern Section 1-A champion, beat Whitney, 74-46, Saturday at the Sports Arena to win the Division III Southern Regional and a berth in the State final. For the Wildcats, solace may be found in the 28-point losing deficit--down from a 34-point loss, 94-60, in last year's regional.
Whitney was never in the game. It trailed, 10-0, and was able to once shave the deficit to 19-13 in the second quarter before Crossroads (24-5) put on a 13-5 spurt to make it 32-18.
"Their quickness, size . . . a combination of both are just too much," said Whitney Coach Bruce Carlisle, who announced at the beginning of the season that this would be his last year as basketball coach. "It's really tough when you play up (against a higher division). It's really, really tough."
Seniors David Wolfe (19 points, 13 rebounds) and Chris Brown (17 points, 6 assists) led a Crossroads attack that shot 72.7% from the field in the second half and 62.2% for the game. Whitney shot 31% in the first half and less than 40% for the game.
"I think we're on line to peak for the State," Crossroads Coach David Benezra said. "We're tired . . . it's an emotional kind of tired for us, though. We have a week now to rest and prepare."
The Southern Section decided this year to move the Small Schools final from the Sports Arena, so this was Whitney's first performance at a large venue.
"I think the biggest thing was that the Small Schools championship was not played at the Sports Arena," Carlisle said. "I don't know why, but the CIF moved it. We we're scared, we were nervous, we hadn't been there before--they (Crossroads) had."
Anywhere, this game was a mismatch. Whitney (25-3) returned five starters; unfortunately for the Wildcats, none of them had grown much from last year. The 6-8 Wolfe had free rein inside against a team that sports no player taller than 6-5, scoring four of the Roadrunners' first eight points and grabbing two offensive rebounds.
"The key was for us not to get behind early," Carlisle said. "If we get behind early, they spread it out, and it's tough to get back into it. We got behind early."