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HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

Preview of Saturday's state high school basketball finals

Among the Southern California teams competing in Saturday's finals are Torrance Bishop Montgomery in Division IV boys, Inglewood in Division III girls, Huntington Beach Ocean View in Division III boys amd Long Beach Poly in Division I girls.

March 21, 2009|Ben Bolch

TODAY'S GAMES

at Arco Arena, Sacramento

Division IV boys: Torrance Bishop Montgomery (28-4) vs. Richmond Salesian (30-4), 11:15 a.m. -- Bishop Montgomery is taking a road rarely traveled to Sacramento, having reached the state title game after losing to Inglewood in a Southern Section Division IV-AA semifinal. Knights Coach Doug Mitchell said the 10-day layoff after that defeat re-energized his team. Bishop Montgomery typically relies on big games from Minnesota-bound guard Justin Cobbs, who averages 20.4 points and has scored as many as 47 in one game. "I've never had a kid who's made as many big shots," Mitchell said. "I don't know how many game-winners he's hit." Salesian is led by juniors Jabari Brown and Desmond Simmons.

Division III girls: Inglewood (19-16) vs. Stockton St. Mary's (30-3), 1 p.m. -- Oregon State-bound forward Tayler Champion and junior point guard Hazel Ramirez will try to lead Inglewood to its first state title. St. Mary's last won a state title in 2004 and played in the 2005 title game but lost to La Puente Bishop Amat.

Division III boys: Huntington Beach Ocean View (27-7) vs. San Francisco Sacred Heart Cathedral (28-4), 2:45 p.m. -- Ocean View Coach Jim Harris' 31-season wait for a state championship might be extended if his team can't contain Fresno State-bound forward Jerry Brown or senior forward Kevin Greene, who is headed to USC to play defensive end for Pete Carroll's football team. Greene had 22 points and 15 rebounds during the Fightin' Irish's triumph over Sacramento in the Northern California regional championship. Ocean View has senior guard Mason Jones, junior guard Avery Johnson and junior Anthony Brown averaging double figures in scoring. "Our hallmark is that every guy on the court can score," Harris said. The Seahawks compensated for grabbing 12 fewer rebounds than North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake in the Southern California regional championship by shooting 51.9%, including 55.6% from three-point range.

Division I girls: Long Beach Poly (30-3) vs. Danville Monte Vista (29-2), 6 p.m. -- Senior guard Kelli Thompson is hoping to become a four-time state champion for the Jackrabbits, who have won the last three titles by an average of 16 points. Poly also has senior forward Monique Oliver, a McDonald's All-American. Monte Vista, making its first appearance in a state title game, is led by Princeton-bound guard Niveen Rasheed, who averages 22 points.

-- Ben Bolch

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