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4-A CITY CHAMPIONSHIPS : Crenshaw Captures Boys', Girls' Titles : Girls' basketball: Grice and Howse lead the 72-50 onslaught against North Hollywood for title.


The North Hollywood girls' basketball squad considered itself a tough team--until it ran into a Howse.

That's Kimberly Howse.

The 5-foot-10 junior scored 15 points and snared 17 rebounds to lead Crenshaw to a 72-50 victory over North Hollywood in the City 4-A championship game Friday at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.

In addition to her inside scoring, Howse proved to be a defensive roadblock in the key.

"I'm the strongest girl in the city," Howse said. "When I get the ball, it's going through the hole."

Cathleen Grice, who led all scorers with 26, agreed: "No one can hold her as big as she is."

Crenshaw came to the title game equipped with a new attitude and scoring threats inside and outside the key.

"We didn't come here to just to play here (in the Sports Arena)," Crenshaw Co-Coach Major Dennis said. "We were here to win and we wouldn't settle for anything else."

Grice, who scored 14 in the first half, put on a show with her behind-the-back dribbling and pinpoint passing.

"Grice and Howse were the key players. That's no secret," North Hollywood Coach Rich Allen said. "They killed us on the boards.

"We played a lot of games on emotion. This time we ran out of emotion. We got tired and lost to a good team."

North Hollywood (21-7) settled for second place for the third time under Allen. North Hollywood, which moved to the 4-A this season, lost to Reseda in 3-A championship games in 1986 and 1987.

Darvena Merritt scored 19 points and Anna Celaya added 12 to lead North Hollywood.

The Cougars outscored North Hollywood 12-2 during the final five minutes of the first period to take a 21-10 lead. Grice had eight points and Howse had seven.

Crenshaw had a 10-4 run to begin the second quarter and held a 38-23 lead at halftime. That lead grew to 22 points as the Cougars outscored the Huskies, 13-1, midway in the third quarter.

"I really thought our quickness gave them problems," Dennis said. "They had problems with our press and they didn't handle it well."

Crenshaw, which improved to 23-2, advances to the Southern California Regionals on Tuesday.

The win was the Cougars' first championship since the 1984-85 season, when they won the 3-A title and marked the first time in City history that one school's boys' and girls' teams won basketball championships in the same season. The girls' team also played in 4-A championship game in 1991, but lost to Westchester.

Records: North Hollywood 21-7; Crenshaw 23-2.

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