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High Schools | BOYS' BASKETBALL STATE DIVISION V CHAMPIONSHIP

Price's Victory Sounds Like a Broken Record

March 22, 2003|Eric Sondheimer | Times Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO — Tiny Los Angeles Price, located at 79th and Vermont in South Central Los Angeles, put itself in the California history books Friday night by becoming the first boys' basketball team to win four consecutive state championships.

Oscar Edwards scored 20 points and had 10 rebounds and Billy Grayson came off the bench to make all six of his shots and score 16 points in Price's 80-72 victory over Modesto Christian in the Division V championship game at Arco Arena.

"It's beyond words," said the 6-foot-5 Edwards, who became the only boys' player in state history to win four titles. "This is unbelievable to end my high school career like this."

Price (33-2), which has an enrollment of 68 students, displayed no fear in attacking a Modesto Christian team that had 7-2 center Liam Hughes.

"I've never seen a 7-2 person in Division V," said Edwards, the only senior starter on the team. "I felt like a midget."

Making the feat more satisfying was that Price played the entire postseason without one of its top players, Derrick Williams, who injured a knee in the final regular-season game.

Price used the transition game to keep the Crusaders off balance. Hughes, who finished with 12 points, fouled out in the fourth quarter.

The Knights opened a 14-point lead in the first half and led, 38-28, at halftime, thanks to three three-point baskets by Grayson. The lead was 10 points, 59-49, to start the fourth. Then Modesto Christian (25-9) made its run, closing to within 67-66 with 3:24 left on a basket by freshman Michael Porter.

The Crusaders might have thought the momentum was with them. But playing for the fourth time at Arco Arena was an advantage for Price.

"I think the experience being here so many times kicked in," Edwards said. "We knew what we had to do to win."

Price scored eight consecutive points to put the game away and inspire its fans to chant, "Four-peat."

"I hope the Lakers can be with us," Edwards said.

Added Coach Michael Lynch: "It's been a wonderful ride. We're in the history books now."

Paul Simon had 13 points and Darren Morrison added 11 for Price. Schuyler McKay finished with seven blocked shots and 13 rebounds and sophomore Marcus Palmer had eight rebounds for the Knights.

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