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March 03, 1994|ROB FERNAS and BARRY BAUM

ARENA-BOUND

Although Inglewood High beat Santa Barbara, 70-53, in the Southern Section Division II-AA basketball semifinals Tuesday night at Morningside, the Sentinels acknowledged they weren't prepared for the Dons' 2-3 zone defense.

"The 2-3 threw us for a loop," Inglewood Coach Pat Roy said. "That was something we haven't faced all year. We're going to practice (playing) against it in practice."

Inglewood doesn't have much time to prepare. The second-seeded Sentinels (27-3) meet top-seeded J.W. North of Riverside (28-0) in the II-AA final at 2:45 p.m. Saturday at the Anaheim Arena.

A victory would give the Sentinels their first section title since 1980, the year they won the mythical national championship with an unbeaten team led by Ralph Jackson and Jay Humphries. Their last title appearance was in 1981.

On Tuesday, forward Paul Pierce led Inglewood to its 14th consecutive victory. The 6-foot-5 junior had game-high totals of 34 points, 13 rebounds, seven steals and three blocked shots. Guards Jason Crowe and Sam Turks added 12 and 11 points, respectively.

"In the second half, we brought Paul up top (on offense)," said Roy, whose team led, 34-32, at halftime. "He creates a whole lot."

Another area boys' team reached a section final when Banning defeated Bell, 66-63, Tuesday at South Gate behind guard Jason Pickett's 28 points. The Pilots (18-11) will defend their City 3-A Division title against Roosevelt (14-11) at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Sports Arena.

In girls' basketball, second-seeded Peninsula (24-3) plays top-seeded Lynwood (28-1) in the Southern Section Division I-AA final at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at Cal Poly Pomona, and Banning (15-11) meets Pacific League rival Gardena in the City 3-A final at 2:30 p.m. Friday at the Sports Arena.

SOCCER FINALISTS

Three South Bay girls' soccer teams reached Southern Section finals with victories Tuesday.

Traci Arkenberg scored her 55th and 56th goals of the season to give Peninsula a 2-1 victory over host Capistrano Valley in a Division I semifinal. Arkenberg has either scored or assisted on all eight of her team's goals in three playoff games. The third-seeded Panthers (23-1-3) will meet top-seeded Marina of Huntington Beach (27-0-1) in the title game at 6 p.m. Friday at Gahr High in Cerritos. Peninsula's only loss was to Marina early in the season.

In Division II, goals by Bridgett Arnold and Michelle Calas lifted Bishop Montgomery over host Canyon of Anaheim, 2-1. The top-seeded Knights (21-2-2) play Esperanza of Anaheim (19-5-4) for the title at 2 p.m. Saturday at Gahr.

In Division IV, Chadwick earned its first trip to a section final by beating visiting La Reina, 2-1, behind goals by Nicki Gluckman and Wendy Uyeminami. The Dolphins (18-3) meet Prep League rival Pasadena Poly (27-1) in the final at 10 a.m. Saturday at Gahr.

RUNNER'S STORY

Several years ago, Bob Holtel came up with a novel way to test the limits of human endurance.

He ran from Mexico to Canada.

It was a story worth telling, which Holtel does in his book, "Soul, Sweat and Survival on the Pacific Crest Trail."

The 62-year-old Manhattan Beach resident shares his experiences of running the equivalent of a marathon a day for 110 days, divided in three consecutive summers from 1985-87 when he was a physical education teacher at West Torrance High.

The only thing more daunting than Holtel's trans-continental run, he says, was the five years it took him to write the book.

"It was easier to run to Canada," he said.

Those wanting to learn more about Holtel and his improbable journey can meet the author during a book signing at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Hungry Mind, 916 Manhattan Ave. in Manhattan Beach.

PLAY BALL

A strong contingent of 12 South Bay teams opens the prep baseball season Friday in the 26th annual El Segundo tournament.

The 32-team field includes Leuzinger, Narbonne, South Torrance, Peninsula, El Segundo, North Torrance, Hawthorne, Banning, Torrance, Carson, Mira Costa and West Torrance. El Segundo is the only area champion of the tournament in 13 years, having won it in 1991.

Featured players include West Torrance infielder Derek Nicholson, the 1993 South Bay player of the year and a preseason All-American; El Segundo pitcher David Reed, South shortstop Paul Weeks, Carson outfielder Daks Blanks and Peninsula pitchers Brian Bowles and Arin McCarthy.

In 3 p.m. games Friday involving top area teams, Peninsula plays host to Paramount, West is home against Muir and El Segundo travels to Lynwood.

The tournament continues through March 12, when the championship game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at El Segundo Recreation Park.

BASKETBALL HONORS

Twenty-two years after his father was named all-West Coast Conference, Loyola Marymount point guard Jim Williamson has been honored by the league's coaches.

The former South Torrance High standout became the first Loyola player selected WCC freshman of the year since the inception of the award in 1972, the year Duane Williamson was an all-conference guard for the Lions.

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