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March 23, 1995|KIRBY LEE

PIONEER ACHIEVEMENT

The Artesia High boys' basketball team advanced to a state title game for the fourth time in six seasons.

The Pioneers, however, suffered their first defeat in the final during that span Saturday, losing to Walnut Creek of Northgate, 47-41, in the Division III championship at the Oakland Coliseum Arena.

The defeat also snapped a 20-game win streak for Artesia (29-4). It was the first time a Pioneer team without Ed or Charles O'Bannon had made it to the state championship.

The Pioneers won the 1990 Division II title with Ed O'Bannon as a senior and won titles in 1992 and 1993 with Charles O'Bannon.

"Everybody assumed it was a slam dunk for Artesia to win a state title with the O'Bannons," Artesia Coach Wayne Merino said. "But making it to the state championship for any team is really quite an accomplishment."

The Pioneers, who trailed by as many as eight points, were unable to overcome a 41-38 deficit with 29.2 seconds left against Walnut Creek (34-2). The Broncos made 17 of 19 free throws, including 10 in the final minute to secure the victory. Artesia shot only five free throws, making three.

Artesia's starting lineup was made up of three underclassmen, including juniors Dajuan Wilson and James Lee and freshman DeAndre Moore. Only seniors Kevin Daley, who had 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Jonathan Nelson will not be back.

Artesia squeezed its way into the final with a 55-54 victory over Harvard-Westlake in the Southern California regional championship and a 55-54 overtime win over University of San Diego in the regional semifinal.

"This team was one of our most athletic, there was no clear-cut superstar," Merino said. "We were a real young team and it all came down to teamwork. This team has improved tremendously since December, and there is still so much potential."

* Dominguez, making its first appearance in a state championship, lost to St. Francis of Mountain View, 73-65, in the Division II final Saturday.

Dominguez (32-3), led by freshman Jason Thomas' 18 points and senior James Brown's 14, should be able to make another run at the state title next season.

Brown and Tommy Prince (13 points) are the only senior starters for the Dons, who will return junior James Jones and sophomore Kenny Brunner. Brunner had nine assists against St. Francis, the fifth-highest total in a state final.

* Three days of preparation for the state Division IV final didn't help the Valley Christian girls. Neither did early foul trouble to senior forward Jodi Parriott in a 61-37 defeat to Moraga Campolindo Friday.

Valley Christian (24-4) jumped to an 11-4 advantage before the USC-bound Parriott left the game after picking up her third foul with three minutes left in the first quarter. When Parriott returned, Campolindo (32-3) had built a 29-15 lead en route to a 37-18 halftime advantage.

"They were good," Parriott said. "If they didn't beat us inside, they would beat us outside. They were unstoppable. We weren't focused and it was a total meltdown."

Parriott finished with 18 points and nine rebounds and sophomore Tandee Taylor added 15 points for Valley Christian.

Parriott scored 42 and Taylor had 30 in the Crusaders' 86-76 victory over Santa Ynez in the Southern California Regional final March 14 that gave Valley Christian its first berth in a state final since 1987.

The Santa Ynez game was originally scheduled for March 11 but was postponed because of closures on U.S. 101 after heavy rains and mudslides.

"We went beyond everybody's expectations this season," Parriott said. "Our goal was to make it Oakland and we outplayed everybody, but two days and a hour Friday was not enough time to prepare for a state championship."

RECORD RUN

Michael Granville broke the all-time national high school indoor 800-meter record, winning the event for the second year in a row at the National Scholastic championships March 12 in Syracuse, N.Y.

Five days later, the Bell Gardens High junior found himself competing on an outdoor dirt track in a nonleague dual meet at California High. But the drop in the level of competition or facility did not detract from Granville's efforts.

"It's a big change going from a big meet to these little meets, but I use them as workouts to keep my momentum going," Granville said.

Granville's time in Syracuse of 1 minute 50.55 seconds broke the 1981 record of 1:50.7 set by John Marshall of New Jersey, a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic team, and also eclipsed Granville's national indoor record for high school juniors of 1:50.80 set Feb. 18 at the Simplot Games in Pocatello, Ida. The previous junior national record had stood for 31 years before the assault of the 6-foot, 165-pound Granville this season.

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