OAKLAND — Santa Clara won its second consecutive state Division IV boys' high school basketball title Friday night as the Saints' Shon Tarver nearly doubled the division's championship-game scoring record.
Tarver poured in 35 points as the Saints defeated Fairfield Vanden, 56-38, before 5,615 at the Oakland Coliseum arena.
Tarver, a 6-foot-5 guard, broke the previous record of 20 points shared since 1988 by Fresno Washington Union's Curtis Stroud and Marc Jones. Tarver also set division records for most field goals made (12), assists (five) and three-point baskets (three).
Santa Clara (28-0) extended its winning streak to 45 games, the longest of any boys' team in the state. The Saints have not lost since December, 1988, when they were beaten by Huntington Beach Edison in the Estancia tournament.
Vanden ended the season at 29-4.
"Let me put it this way--I wouldn't want to go through it again," a relieved Santa Clara Coach Lou Cvijanovich said, reflecting on the season.
Tarver, who has narrowed his college choices to Notre Dame, UCLA, Syracuse, Georgia Tech and Nevada Las Vegas, nearly broke the scoring record in the first half, scoring 14 of his 17 first-half points in the second quarter.
"I wanted to make a point that I can score in a big game," Tarver said. "I was on a mission since last year. We wanted to prove we were as good as we were last year."
With the score tied, 9-9, Tarver sank a jump shot from just inside the top of the key with 6 minutes 53 seconds left in the second quarter to start a 19-10 run. The Saints led, 28-19, at halftime.
Tarver added a free throw and a follow shot in the first 55 seconds of the third quarter to tie the scoring record, then broke it with 6:01 left in the period on a soft three-point shot from the left side of the key.
His basket gave Santa Clara a 35-20 lead.
Cvijanovich said that Tarver has enjoyed a great season. He has averaged 36 points a game in the Saints' four state playoff contests.
"He's as good as anybody in the United States," Cvijanovich said. "Well, I won't come out and say he's the best, but I would like to see anybody that's better."
Tarver made 12 of 27 shots, including three of seven from three-point range. He was guarded most of the game by Rod Parrish, a 6-1 guard.
"I kept shooting outside," Tarver said. "If I would have gone inside and used my height advantage, my shooting percentage might have been a little higher."
Santa Clara's mixture of zone and man-to-man defenses frustrated Vanden throughout the third quarter. The Vikings missed their first five shots of the quarter and had three turnovers as Santa Clara led by as many as 19.
Tarver scored 12 points, including two dunks, in the third quarter and Santa Clara outscored Vanden, 15-5.
Guard Danin Bryant scored eight of his 15 points in the fourth quarter to lead Vanden.
Tarver was the only Santa Clara player to score in double figures. Chris Cole scored seven points and Anthony Ziuraitis added five.
"We did this as a team," Tarver said of the championship. "It's not like it was me or anything."