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BOYS' BASKETBALL ROUNDUP

Playa del Rey St. Bernard falls to Alameda St. Joseph Notre Dame's three-point barrage

Playa del Rey St. Bernard loses the boys' basketball Division V state championship to Alameda St. Joseph Notre Dame, 47-44. In other action, Fontana Summit loses the Division II state final to, 53-50, to San Jose Archbishop Mitty.

March 25, 2011|Eric Sondheimer
  • St. Bernard guard Brandon Randolph, center, drives to the basket past Alameda St. Joseph Notre Dame forward Evander Wood, left, and guard Dominic Lippi during the second half of St. Joseph Notre Dame's 47-44 victory in the state Division V championship game on Friday.
St. Bernard guard Brandon Randolph, center, drives to the basket past Alameda… (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated…)

Reporting from Sacramento — Reggie Morris Jr. coached NBA All-Star Russell Westbrook in high school, so the question Friday at Power Balance Pavilion before the state Division V championship game was whether the first-year coach at Playa del Rey St. Bernard had asked Westbrook for advice on how to shoot three-pointers in Sacramento's toughest arena setting.

"No," Morris said. "Russell Westbrook can't even shoot in this place."

Little did Morris realize that his opponent, Alameda St. Joseph Notre Dame, had a three-point shooting ringer in Jacari Whitfield, whose fifth three-pointer of the game, with 58 seconds left, broke a 42-42 deadlock and lifted the Pilots to a 47-44 victory over St. Bernard.

Whitfield's five three-pointers tied the Division V record for most in a championship game. St. Bernard had a chance to tie the score after a missed free throw by Whitfield with 1.7 seconds left, but Brandon Randolph's 55-footer went off the rim at the buzzer.

There were five lead changes in the fourth quarter. St. Bernard (26-9), which was 4-23 last season and made dramatic improvement under Morris, received 14 points from Randolph, a sophomore, plus 10 points and 10 rebounds from senior Thurman Thomas.

"If I had told anybody at the beginning of the year we'd be in the state championship, I would have got laughed at," Morris said. "For us to get this far, I'm very proud of what we've been able to accomplish. It really stings because it was not a game we could not have won. We felt we were right there and didn't take advantage of opportunities."

Heartbreaker for Fontana Summit

Fontana Summit was in position to pull off the upset in the Division II final. The Skyhawks, down by a point, set up an out-of-bounds play with 18 seconds left. But Dorian Cason's pass sailed over Montigo Alford's head, and San Jose Archbishop Mitty's Brandon White scored on an uncontested layup. Mitty (32-2) won, 53-50. "It was kind of an out-of-body experience to see it go over his head," said Mitty's Aaron Gordon, who scored 17 and had 21 rebounds.

Summit (28-8) rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit behind Cason, who had 19 points and 10 rebounds.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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