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State Title Marks Successful End to Tarver's Quest

March 18, 1990|LONNIE WHITE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

For Shon Tarver, Santa Clara High's consummate guard, his mission is complete.

When Santa Clara defeated Fairfield Vanden, 56-38, to win its second consecutive boys' state Division IV title Friday, Tarver fulfilled a promise he made to himself at the end of last season.

The final game also meant the breaking of silence from Tarver, who had not spoken to the media all season under Coach Lou Cvijanovich's team interview policy.

"I was on a mission all season," Tarver said after establishing a Division IV title-game scoring record of 35 points. "I was dedicated to get better and help prove (this) team is as good as last year's team."

Santa Clara entered the state final undefeated (27-0) and riding a 44-game winning streak. After scoring only three points in the opening quarter, Tarver took control of the game in the second period, scoring 14 points as the Saints took a 28-17 halftime lead.

"I was really missing early on," said Tarver, who averaged 36 points a game in the state playoffs. "No one can be on all of the time, but scoring is not the biggest thing for me."

Cvijanovich agreed.

"(Tarver) is as good a ballplayer that there is in the country," he said. "If there is anyone better, I want to see him."

Even though Tarver had a hand in more than 80% of Santa Clara's scoring--he dished out a championship-game record five assists to go with his 35 points--his final numbers show that he is more than a scorer.

On a night when point guard Bruce Howarth got into foul trouble early and finished with only two points, Tarver also became the Saints' defensive leader. He led the team with seven rebounds, four blocked shots and two steals.

"Our defense has been our cup of tea all season," Cvijanovich said. "When Howarth went out with his third foul (with 5 minutes 49 seconds left in the first half) we had to pick up our defensive intensity."

Tarver did just that, quickly forcing a pair of turnovers and connecting on a pair of three-point shots before assisting on three-point play by Chris Cole.

It was anticlimactic from there as the Saints turned the game into a blowout, something that has become as common as the red socks Cvijanovich wears with his blue suits each game.

"It is something that I started 38 years ago when I first began coaching," Cvijanovich said. "It has become a tradition around here."

Winning also has become a tradition.

"Winning two state titles in a row is something special," Tarver said, "but it is something that I expected."

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