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SOUTHERN SECTION GIRLS' BASKETBALL FINALS

It's Wiley-Gatewood -- Again

March 06, 2004|Martin Henderson | Times Staff Writer

Although she has had many great moments in her high school career, Sade Wiley-Gatewood's performance Friday against Long Beach Poly certainly was a defining one.

The Tennessee-bound guard scored 11 points in a 15-0 run with less than four minutes left in the game to lead second-seeded and three-time defending champion Lynwood to a 54-42 victory in the Southern Section Division I-AA championship game at the Pyramid in Long Beach.

Top-seeded Poly (27-3), as with all section finalists, will join two-time defending state champion Lynwood in the state playoffs that begin next week.

Lynwood (26-2) trailed, 41-35, when Gatewood took over in the fourth quarter, her biggest shot being a 24-footer with 2 minutes 53 seconds left to pull the Knights to within one, 42-41.

"That was the game," said Wiley-Gatewood, who was often double- and triple-teamed. "I knew when I hit that I would end up taking over. Under the circumstances, this was one of my greatest games."

She also made eight of nine free throws in the run and finished with 25 points on a night Lynwood played without starting forward Brandi Kimble, who suffered a sprained knee in the semifinal Tuesday.

Lenita Sanford, a 6-foot-2 freshman, scored nine points and had 12 rebounds for Lynwood, which defeated Poly for the third time in four years in the final.

Latoya Fairley scored 11 points and April Phillips had 10 for Poly, whose top player, Judith Smith, was held to three.

Brea Olinda 51, Santa Ana Mater Dei 45 -- Brea, making its first title-game appearance since 2001, won its 13th section championship but had to overcome a 15-point deficit in the Division II-A final.

The top-seeded Ladycats (26-5) did so behind the efforts of UCLA-bound guard Lauren Pedersen, who scored 19 points -- 14 in the second half -- and freshman guard Jeanette Pohlen, who scored 12.

Defending champion Mater Dei (17-11) made nine of its first 16 shots and opened a 22-7 lead with 5:11 left in the second quarter. But the Monarchs didn't score the rest of the half and Brea pulled to within four points, 22-18, as Pohlen scored five of Brea's next 11 points.

The Ladycats were more aggressive going to the basket in the second half, and it paid dividends with Mater Dei's Christina Lopez and Lauren Greer eventually fouling out in the fourth quarter. By that time, Brea had orchestrated a 24-point turnaround and taken a 46-37 lead.

Jen Rogers led Mater Dei with 15 points and Laurie Denning and Chanel Foster each added 10.

Los Angeles Pacific Hills 53, Ojai Thacher 48 -- The top-seeded Bruins (19-11) outscored defending champion Thacher, 8-1, over the final two minutes in the Division V-AA final.

Quiana Fenty led Pacific Hills, which won the title without benefit of a home game, with 18 points, six steals and four assists. Thacher (16-4) got 14 points apiece from Erica Puccetti and Steffi Rauner.

Huntington Beach Liberty Christian 43, Calimesa Mesa Grande 39 -- The top-seeded Minutemen (26-4) made up a 12-point deficit in the Division V-A final by shooting nearly 50% from the field in the second half after making only 18% in the first half. Susan Fleming led the way with 13 points for Liberty Christian. Megan Bradford had 18 for third-seeded Mesa Grande (19-8).

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