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Today's Basketball State Championship Games

March 19, 2004

BOYS

DIVISION II

Compton Dominguez (30-5) vs. Hayward (31-1), 8 p.m., Arco Arena, Sacramento

Coach Russell Otis considers his Dominguez team the best in the state right now, regardless of division. The Dons, winners of five state titles since 1996, have won eight consecutive playoff games by an average of 33.5 points. Hayward, which won the Division IV title in 1991, is riding a 21-game winning streak, having lost its only game in early January to Division III finalist Oakland Bishop O'Dowd in a Hayward Area Athletic League contest. Hayward won the rematch six weeks later. Both state finalists prefer an up-tempo style of play on both ends of the floor. A key player could be 6-foot-8 forward LaMar Roberson of Dominguez. Hayward has only one player taller than 6-3, and Roberson proved two weeks ago in the Southern Section Division II-A final against a much smaller Inglewood team that he knows how to use a size advantage, scoring 32 points in the 71-58 victory.

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DIVISION IV

Los Angeles Verbum Dei (21-9) vs. Alameda St. Joseph Notre Dame (28-6), 4 p.m.

Verbum Dei has needed a basket in the final second to win each of its last two games. But the Eagles are used to playing catch-up. After their best player, 6-foot-9 junior Amir Johnson, transferred to Westchester in the off-season, they struggled to an 8-7 start. However, they have won 13 of their last 15 to put themselves in position to win their first state title since 1999. St. Joseph Notre Dame won its 20th consecutive game Saturday, defeating San Jose Valley Christian, 61-35, in the Northern California regional final. Forwards Alex Harris and Ronald Lewis combined for 32 points against Valley Christian and helped the Pilots shoot 55% from the floor. But Harris, at 6-4, and Lewis, at 6-2, may have trouble matching up against Verbum Dei's frontcourt of Matt Shaw and Lowell Grissom, who are each 6-8.

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GIRLS

DIVISION II

Fullerton Troy (33-1) vs. Concord Carondelet (29-3), 6 p.m., Arco Arena

Troy has won 45 of its last 46 games. But successfully defending its state title will be a tall order against much taller Carondelet, whose front line is 6-4, 6-2 and 6-0. The Cougars' potent offense is led by sophomore Jayne Appel, a 6-4 center who averages 22 points, and Allison Daley, a 6-2 junior who averages 16. Sometimes the best post defense is pressure on the perimeter, and that plays into Troy's strength. The Warriors, ranked No. 7 in the state, allowed more than 49 points only four times, with a season-high 59 points to Perris. Carondelet, No. 13 in the state, allowed more than 49 points 11 times and more than 59 points five times. Troy's leading scorer, Meghan McGuire (16.2 points), should be close to fully recovered from a sprained ankle that had her sidelined much of last week.

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DIVISION IV

La Jolla Country Day (27-4) vs. Piedmont (32-2), 2 p.m., Arco Arena

Piedmont is ranked No. 1 in the state and Country Day is No. 3. Piedmont avenged its 56-53 loss to Long Beach Poly -- it blew a 17-point halftime lead at the Nike Tournament of Champions -- with a 62-45 victory on Feb. 7. The Highlanders are led by 6-3 twins Courtney and Ashley Paris, daughters of former NFL lineman Bubba Paris. Courtney is averaging 28 points and Ashley 18, and their team has beaten the Northern California representatives in the Division I, III and V state title games. Country Day is led by guard Candice Wiggins, daughter of the late San Diego Padre second baseman Alan Wiggins. She is coming off 50- and 41-point efforts in her last two games, the latter a 78-45 victory over Los Angeles Marlborough in the regional final.

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