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Today's Basketball Championship Games

March 20, 2004|Martin Henderson;Dan Arritt

BOYS

DIVISION I

Los Angeles Fairfax (26-5) vs. Concord De La Salle (30-2), 8 p.m., Arco Arena, Sacramento

Fairfax has surprised those who didn't believe the Lions had all the necessary pieces to reach the state-title game. Josh Shipp hasn't had a poor playoff game, saving his best for Etiwanda on Saturday, when he scored a Southern California Regional finals-record 33 points in a 75-68 overtime victory. He was particularly helpful when Fairfax erased a 13-point deficit late in the third quarter. The Lions have also received timely outside shooting from reserves Jerren Shipp and Chace Stanback, giving Josh Shipp a little more room to work inside. De La Salle plays a structured style, counting on 5-10 guard Justin Argenal and 6-4 forward Kyle Roemer to handle most of the scoring.

DIVISION III

Compton Centennial (31-3) vs. Oakland Bishop O'Dowd (26-6), 2:45 p.m., Arco Arena

Centennial is finding ways to win, even when its best player, UCLA-bound guard Arron Afflalo, is struggling with his jump shot. The Apaches might have to become extra creative against Bishop O'Dowd's stingy defense. The Dragons have held two playoff opponents to 26 points each in the last two weeks. In their 48-26 victory on Saturday over San Francisco St. Ignatius in Arco Arena, the losing score tied the lowest point total ever in a Northern California Regional final. A week earlier, the Dragons didn't score much more in the North Coast Section championship game, but still won, 29-26. This will be Bishop O'Dowd's fourth trip to the state title game with its only championship coming in 1981. The Apaches are in their second state final in three years, having never qualified before 2002 when they lost, 47-43, to San Francisco Riordan.

DIVISION V

Los Angeles Price (24-7) vs. Modesto Christian (27-6), 11:15 a.m., Arco Arena

These teams meet again after Price posted an 80-72 victory in last year's title game, its record-setting fourth consecutive state championship. Only Modesto Christian, winner of one state title in four appearances since 1997, has been ranked ahead of the Knights for most of the season. Modesto Christian relies on guards Joe Carter and Michael Porter, who each scored 15 points in the Northern California Regional final, a 58-47 victory over Ross Branson. Senior forward Andray Glenn, at 6 feet 7, gives the Crusaders a strong inside presence. The Knights have veteran senior leadership in Darren Morrison and Schuyler McKay in the backcourt, plus 6-9 sophomore center Terrence Sutton.

-- Dan Arritt

GIRLS

DIVISION I

San Diego (31-3) vs. Oakland Tech (23-6), 6 p.m., Arco Arena

All eyes will be on Charde Houston, the state's all-time leading scorer. In the Southern Regional final against Long Beach Poly, Houston scored a finals-record 43 points in a 71-61 come-from-behind victory. The Cavers, ranked No. 4 in the state, are the first San Diego team to play for the Division I title since Teri Mann led Point Loma to four consecutive titles, the last in 1987. San Diego beat Oakland Tech, 85-74, at the West Coast Jamboree in Northern California on Dec. 30. Oakland Tech, ranked 10th in the state, has lost to several Southland teams, including Brea Olinda and L.A. Marlborough, but 6-3 Devanei Hampton had 28 points and a Northern Regional-record 27 rebounds in a 52-49 win over Elk Grove Laguna Creek.

DIVISION III

La Puente Bishop Amat (31-3) vs. Stockton St. Mary's (31-4), 1 p.m., Arco Arena

Bishop Amat is playing in its first title game. The Lancers, ranked No. 12 in the state, will try to exploit St. Mary's defense with their post players, 6-2 Erin Myrick and 5-10 Chasmine Jones. The two played well in the regional final against Inglewood Morningside, as Myrick finished with 18 points and a team-high six assists, and Jones had 13 points and two assists. Bishop Amat, with guards Amelia Alvarez, Jessica Carrera and Mariel Alvarez, has proved it can withstand a full-court press -- facing Pasadena Muir's twice in the last two weeks -- and has also been clutch from the three-point arc. Carrera had three against Morningside and Amelia Alvarez had another. St. Mary's, ranked No. 2 in the state, is led by sophomore guard Jacki Gemelos, who is averaging 21.9 points and scored 13 of her 31 points in the final 5:02 to give her team a 57-43 win in the Northern Regional final over San Francisco Sacred Heart Cathedral. Renee Roberts, who made 143 three-pointers this season, is averaging 15.1 points and will have to shoot over Bishop Amat's 2-3 zone.

DIVISION V

San Luis Obispo Mission Prep (19-7) vs. Auburn Forest Lake Christian (30-4), 9:30 a.m., Arco Arena

Forest Lake Christian is ranked No. 1 in the division statewide, but Mission Prep, which is ranked No. 4, could have the emotional edge as it tries for its first state title after losing last season in late coach Jay Cowitz's fourth try. Mission Prep, which dedicated the season to Cowitz and won a state-record 12th straight section title, is led by 6-5 senior Katherine Suderman, a UC Santa Barbara recruit averaging 17.3 points and 12.8 rebounds.

-- Martin Henderson

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