It is on to Oakland for Fremont High, which routed Santa Barbara, 78-59, in the Southern Regional State Division I championship game Saturday night before a crowd of 7,267 at the Sports Arena.
Senior center Michael Tate scored 14 of his team-high 15 points in the second half as Fremont (33-1) snuffed a Santa Barbara rally and pulled away to win handily.
The Pathfinders will play Alameda St. Joseph's, the Northern champion, Saturday at the Oakland Coliseum Arena for the state championship.
Santa Barbara (28-6), the Southern Section Division I-A champion, stayed close in the first half, with Matt Purdy scoring 12 points. The Dons--who trailed, 27-15, early in the second quarter--rallied to cut Fremont's lead to 30-28 with three minutes left in the half.
Santa Barbara, despite 25 turnovers, made another run at Fremont in the third quarter after Pathfinder guard Chris Ford went to the bench with his third foul.
David Palmer, playing with four fouls, scored seven points as the Dons trimmed a 40-30 deficit to 50-47 with less than three minutes remaining in the quarter.
Once Ford returned, however, Fremont got untracked. The 6-2 senior guard, who will attend UC Santa Barbara in the fall, made a basket and then Tate took over, scoring the Pathfinders' next eight points.
"With Chris Ford in foul trouble, we needed Michael Tate to step in and take charge," Fremont Coach Sam Sullivan said. "(Tate) showed why he is a three-year starter tonight."
Tate scored 10 points in the fourth quarter as Fremont finished off Santa Barbara with a 22-8 blitz in the final eight minutes.
"We were ineffective inside in the second half," said Palmer, who lifted the Dons to victory in the semifinals with a last-second basket against Long Beach Jordan.
Fremont, the City 3-A Division champion, had five players in double figures. Tate and Todd Whitehead scored 13 points each, Ford had 12, Robert Moore 11 and Tyrone Holliness added 10.
Santa Barbara was led by Purdy, who finished with 20 points.