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STATE HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES : Division III Boys : Crossroads Puts Up a Roadblock and Beats Colusa, 83-65

March 22, 1987|SCOTT HOWARD-COOPER | Times Staff Writer

OAKLAND — Santa Monica Crossroads High prepared for its second straight trip to the state basketball finals with an off-day Monday, a flat practice Tuesday and a workout Wednesday that ended when Coach Dave Benezra kicked the players out of the gym for lack of effort. The Roadrunners were anything but ready for their last game of the season.

Finally, they put two good practices together, but it wasn't until the team returned to the hotel after Friday's workout at the University of San Francisco that Benezra got a true feeling about the upcoming game. A passing exchange in the lobby between the players from Crossroads and Colusa, one in which the Roadrunners felt they were being talked down to, gave the Southern Section 1-A champions the push they needed.

"That did it," Benezra said. "To use the players' term, 'We were going to serve them.' "

When it came time to play, the Roadrunners not only served Colusa, they swallowed them whole. With a stifling defense and hot-shooting offense, Crossroads beat Colusa, 83-65 for the boys' Division III title Saturday at the Oakland Coliseum Arena, to win its first state title in three tries.

There was never much doubt. The Roadrunners (26-5) hit their first 13 shots of the game to jump out to a 13-point lead in the first quarter. By halftime, they had a 49-27 lead, making 66.7% of their shots (22 of 33).

And if that wasn't enough for Colusa (27-2) to think about, there was the Crossroads defense. The Northern California representative had 17 turnovers in the first two quarters--Matt Bailey and Chris Brown already had four steals each--to all but give the Roadrunners a first-half TKO.

"That was the most team quickness we've seen all season," Colusa Coach Jim Vossler said. "I could say our kids didn't do too well, but Crossroads caused a lot of it.

"Maybe it was the arena. Maybe it was the crowd. There were a lot of maybes. We just didn't play ball in the first 16 minutes."

Crossroads had no question marks. Only solutions.

"That was the best basketball we played all year," Benezra said. "We played both ends so well in the first half."

The Roadrunners cooled down the final two quarters, shooting 47.8% to finish at 58.9%, but Colusa never got closer than 11 points.

David Wolfe had 21 points and 10 rebounds for Crossroads, Brown had 20 points and 5 steals, and Bailey had 18 points and 7 steals.

Don Lyttle scored 20 points for Colusa, which had 25 turnovers.

"The perimeter people did such a great job on defense that Lyttle wasn't much of a factor because he wasn't getting the ball often," Benezra said. "That's what we wanted to do."

Naturally. Crossroads spent the day doing whatever it wanted.

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