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March 02, 1995|KIRBY LEE

TOP BILLING

Paul Pierce of Inglewood High lived up to his billing Tuesday night. So did Dominguez.

The Kansas-bound Pierce scored 35 points, including five three-point baskets, and grabbed 14 rebounds, but the Dons held off a furious rally to defeat the Sentinels, 83-74, in a Southern Section Division II-A semifinal game at Compton College.

It was the second victory in three meetings for Dominguez, which also defeated the Sentinels in double overtime, 87-83, in the final of the Artesia tournament.

"If I never have to coach against him again, I'll be the happiest man in the world," Dominguez High Coach Russell Otis said about Pierce. "I just kept looking at the clock. It seemed to be going the other way instead of ticking down. I knew we had the better team and eventually we would pull through."

Dominguez (28-2) bolted to a 48-24 third-quarter lead against Inglewood (26-4) and was ahead, 62-42, with six minutes to play. The 6-foot-7 Pierce had 21 points in the fourth quarter to help Inglewood close to 73-70 with 1 minute 15 seconds left on his third three-point basket of the quarter.

But Dominguez, which played most of the final quarter without three starters after Tommy Prince, Kenny Brunner and James Brown fouled out, held off the Sentinels by making 13 of 15 free throws in the final quarter and 28 of 36 in the game to earn its third consecutive appearance in a division final.

Dominguez, which lost to J.W. North and St. John Bosco in the championship the previous two seasons, plays Tustin (28-1) at the Anaheim Arena at 1 p.m. Saturday.

"As long as we kept hitting our free throws, I knew we would win," said Tremain Ross, who had nine points and made seven of eight free throws in the fourth quarter. "We don't play individual ball, we play team ball. We have more than one player. We have team depth."

Brown finished with a team-high 20 points and Jones scored 12. Jason Thomas added nine points and 10 rebounds for Dominguez.

* Dominguez's celebration was short-lived Tuesday night. Moments after a postgame prayer in the locker room, the team discovered thieves, apparently entering through an open window, had stolen money and personal valuables from the player's bags.

"For every silver lining, there is a cloud I suppose," Otis said.

* Long Beach Poly (20-9) will defend its I-AA title against Fontana (24-6) at the Anaheim Arena at 6:45 Saturday night.

Damion Dawson and Mike McDonald each scored 16 points to lead the top-seeded Jackrabbits to a 58-48 semifinal victory over Los Alamitos at the Pyramid Tuesday.

* Artesia, making its sixth appearance in a Southern Section title game in seven seasons, and Centennial, playing in its first championship since 1958, will meet in the Division III-A final at 11:45 a.m. Saturday at the Anaheim Arena.

Dajuan Wilson and Jonathan Nelson scored 17 points each to lift Artesia (25-3) to an 80-75 semifinal victory over Redondo Tuesday at North Torrance High.

Centennial (18-11) beat Rancho Verde, 70-66, behind an 18-point, eight-rebound and five-assists performance by Kenzie Weir in the other semifinal at Dominguez High.

* UCLA teammates Charles and Ed O'Bannon had an impact during Artesia's success the past seven seasons, helping the Pioneers to three State Division II titles.

The O'Bannon family, though, has had an influence this season.

Charles, whose jersey was retired at Artesia earlier this season, was on the Artesia bench for the Pioneer's semifinal victory over Redondo. His father Ed O'Bannon Sr. served as an honorary coach during the Pioneers' quarterfinal game against Bishop Montgomery.

* Valley Christian will seek its fourth consecutive Southern Section girls' title Friday against Crossroads in a Division IV-A game at the Pyramid at 3 p.m. Friday.

Tandee Taylor had 25 points and Joi-Lin Hunt and Jodi Parriott scored 14 and 11 points each to lead Valley Christian (25-3) to a semifinal victory Saturday at Montebello High.

* Long Beach Poly (23-4) earned a berth in the Division I-AA semifinals with a 67-53 quarterfinal road victory over Victor Valley. K.K. Johns had 25 points and Lankea Allen contributed 15 and 13 points apiece for Poly.

The Jackrabbits played Hesperia (20-7) in a semifinal Wednesday night at Victor Valley College. The winner will play Peninsula in the championship Friday at the Pyramid.

GRUDGE MATCH

Wrestler Ray Granillo of Glenn won the 191-pound division at the Southern Section Masters Meet to advance to the state meet for the second consecutive year. The senior pinned two of his four opponents, including Dani Mouri of Glendora in the championship.

The top eight wrestlers in each weight class qualified for the state meet, which is scheduled for Friday and Saturday at the University of Pacific in Stockton.

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