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Dons Go to Work, Go Back for Title

March 14, 2004|Dan Arritt | Times Staff Writer

Compton Dominguez pushed the clock to midnight for the Cinderella story of the playoffs, forcing Fullerton Sunny Hills into 24 turnovers and turning those miscues into 30 points Saturday night in a 58-37 victory in the Southern California Regional Division II final at the Sports Arena.

Dominguez (30-5) committed only eight turnovers and used its quickness to grab 17 offensive rebounds, turning them into 16 second-chance points.

Sunny Hills, by contrast, did not score on any of its three offensive rebounds.

"They're obviously a very athletic group, so they were hard to keep off the offensive glass," said Sunny Hills Coach Randy Wellen, whose team had given up more than 50 points only once in its previous 22 games. "They were just shooting the gaps. If you didn't find your guy when the ball went up, you were in trouble."

Dominguez also had a significant edge on the bench. The Lancers (21-14) had been playing as few as six players in the playoffs, but with the Dons featuring an eight- to 10-man rotation, Wellen had to go deeper than normal. "The fatigue factor got to us as well," Wellen said.

Dominguez, which won its seventh regional title to move into a tie with Santa Ana Mater Dei on the all-time list, will play Hayward in the Division II final Friday night in Sacramento. The Dons will be trying for their sixth state title since 1996.

"It has been a long time coming but we're finally where we want to be," said Dominguez Coach Russell Otis, who is 6-1 in regional finals.

Bryan Harvey led the Dons with 17 points and seven rebounds. LaMar Roberson was the only other Dominguez player to score in double digits, contributing 10 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots.

"We have so many weapons," Harvey said.

Sunny Hills, which won the program's first Southern Section title last week after opening the season 3-9, made the first two minutes of the game interesting. The Lancers made four of their first five shots to take a 9-4 lead, but Dominguez scored the final 11 points of the quarter.

The Dons then forced eight turnovers in the second quarter, outscoring the Lancers, 15-8, to take a 13-point lead at halftime.

Steve Schneider had 10 points and nine rebounds to lead Sunny Hills.

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