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Crawford Leads Westchester to 74-72 Win Over El Toro

December 20, 1987|STUART MATTHEWS

On paper the game between Westchester and El Toro for the San Dimas High Tournament of Champions looked to be more of a track meet than a basketball game.

And the way it turned out, it took a sprint-out with a steal and a layup by junior playmaker Sam Crawford to key Westchester's dramatic 74-72 win Saturday night at Cal Poly Pomona.

It came down to overtime when El Toro's Bret Johnson nailed a clutch three-pointer with seconds remaining in regulation time.

And overtime opened with a three-pointer by Crawford but Johnson responded back with another three-point play to tie the game again at 72-72.

Then Crawford, who was voted tournament MVP, stole an El Toro pass and went coast-to-coast for the layup. Mike Van Riette's desperation three-pointer at the buzzer clanked off the back of the rim and Westchester walked away with the title.

For Westchester, it was the Sam Crawford show all night long.

El Toro held a seven-point lead early in the fourth quarter. But Crawford brought Westchester back with a three-pointer and a layup to take a 69-66 lead.

Crawford ignited Westchester's offense with a series of acrobatic sorties into the paint for layups and added a bunch of creative assists. He set the tone of the fast-paced game in the first half with a twisting lay-in after a steal by Brown.

Then Crawford started off the second half by burying a pair of three-pointers to bring Westchester back from a three-point deficit. He finished the game with 24 points and 11 assists.

"Crawford can do a lot of good things," Westchester Coach Ed Azzam said. "He's just a heck of a player."

The 6-foot-7 center Zan Mason benefited most from Crawford's flashy passes, finishing with 27 points and 10 rebounds.

The dramatic win spoiled a number of fine performances by El Toro players. Bret Johnson finished with 22 points, including three three-pointers. Forward Khari Johnson had 18 points including several impressive slam dunks, and center Cory Wayland had 15 points, including 11 in the crucial third quarter in which El Toro built up its ill-fated lead.

In other Tournament of Champions action:

Edison of Fresno 75, Morningside 61--In the consolation championship, Edison of Fresno was led by the hot shooting of senior guard Kejon Murphy to defeat Morningside.

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