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Gardena Serra adds another championship

After the Cavaliers won a football title this fall, they win the Southern Section Division 3A basketball crown with a 62-58 victory over Compton Centennial.

March 07, 2010|From Times staff reports

Junior guard Marqise Lee of Gardena Serra needs more room on his hand for championship rings. He was a starting defensive back for the 15-0 football team, and on Saturday at the Honda Center, he earned another ring by making the decisive plays in the final 30 seconds to help the basketball team defeat Compton Centennial, 62-58, to win the Southern Section Division 3A championship.

"I'm going to wear both ones on both hands," he said.

Lee scored 13 points off the bench. He scored on a layup with 27 seconds left to put Serra (30-2) on top, 61-58. And his free throw with 15 seconds left iced the win. He was perfectly suited for the confines of the Honda Center, using his slashing style to score inside and not have to worry about firing away from three-point range.

"It was easy for me," he said. "I mainly go to the basket."

Centennial (25-6) trailed by 10 points in the third quarter and was down by seven points with 3:15 left. But the Apaches rallied behind 6-foot-1 Kevin Smith, who made nine of 11 shots and finished with 23 points. It was a Smith basket with 54 seconds left that pulled Centennial to within 59-58.

But Serra's balance and athleticism make the Cavaliers a contender to win a state championship. Vaughn Autry led the Cavaliers with 14 points, Keith Shamburger had 13 and 6-9 Jordan Mitchell added 10.

Serra has four players who were on the championship football team.

"I think it matters a lot," Coach Dwan Hurt said of the team's multi-sport athletes. "When they go into the game, the talent level doesn't drop off."

-- Eric Sondheimer

Lawndale Leuzinger 58, Santa Monica 39: A year after failing to pull through in the final minutes of a title-game loss, third-seeded Lawndale Leuzinger made sure there was no chance of a late letdown in the Southern Section Division 1A championship.

The Olympians pushed the pace in taking a 17-point lead by the end of the first quarter on the way to its first section title. Senior guard Delon Wright had 13 points, seven rebounds, seven steals, four assists and four blocks for the Olympians (24-6), who have won 20 consecutive games.

By the time Santa Monica (24-7) made its only real push, scoring 10 consecutive points midway through the fourth quarter, the Vikings were too far behind to make things uncomfortable for Leuzinger. Santa Monica made only 29.1% of its shots, including four of 32 (12.5%) from three-point range.

Junior forward Amir Garrett had 14 points and senior guard Aqueel Quin had 13 for the Olympians.

"Last year, it hurt real bad," Quin said of Leuzinger's 59-55 loss to Thousand Oaks in the Division II-AA championship. "We just wanted to get this."

-- Ben Bolch

Murrieta Valley 50, Compton 44: Using pump fakes and a precision passing-game offense, Murrieta Valley (27-4) won the 2AA championship behind junior Justin Gudger, who scored 21 points.

Compton (18-13) missed six consecutive free throws in the final two minutes but still closed to within 46-44 on a three-pointer by Cliff Sims with 46 seconds left. Murrieta Valley's Mark Tarabilda scored his only points of the game with 16 seconds left, making a layup and converting a free throw for a three-point play to clinch the win. He's the son of Coach Steve Tarabilda.

"We stress fundamentals. We stress teamwork. We're old school and can't help it," Steve Tarabilda said.

Compton was trying to win its first title since 1969.

-- Eric Sondheimer

Rialto Eisenhower 52, Pasadena 43: Alex Varner scored 17 points and Kirby Gardner had 15 points to help the Eagles (28-5) win their second consecutive 2A championship.

Todd Lewis Jr. had 21 points for Pasadena (24-7), which took a 39-38 lead with 5:30 left. But the Eagles' defense toughened up, and Varner made five consecutive free throws in the final 1:23. Eisenhower made 28.6% of its shots and Pasadena was at 27.4%. Eisenhower won the game at the free-throw line, making 17 of 32.

-- Eric Sondheimer

Santa Ana Foothill 64, Huntington Beach Ocean View 58: Senior guard Myles Carrillo scored 16 points and junior guard Rob Filley had 14 to lead the second-seeded Knights (29-2) over the top-seeded Seahawks (27-4) in the Division 3AA championship.

Senior guard Anthony Brown scored 16 points for Ocean View, which fell behind by eight points at the end of the first quarter and couldn't recover.

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