Redondo Goes To The Bank For CIF Title

It was so far off, but so good at the same time. Marvin Lea had just rattled in a short leaner to give Riverside King a 70-68 lead over Redondo Union in the CIF-Southern Section Div. II-A final with 12 scant seconds remaining and the Sea Hawks had to answer. Wendell White called for the ball on the wing, where two Wolves converged on him. White faked, ducked under, stepped through and rose up for a shot from three-point range – AND BANKED IT IN. Redondo Union 71, King 70.

"I didn't call bank," admitted White. "I was going to but didn't. I just knew I had to get the ball and shoot."

"Our coach told us it takes luck and skill to win CIF championships," said Lea. "They had the luck at the end."

Indeed, for most of the game, it appeared that the defending CIF champs would run away and hide from a King team that entered the season unheralded but advanced to its first finals as the No. 1 seed on the strength of a ultra-quick athletic team that took opposing teams out of their game plans.

And that's just what they did to Redondo, forcing the much taller Sea Hawks into an end-to-end battle better suited for the Wolves (27-4). The only thing was, Redondo was thriving well in the up-tempo game. Twice, the Hawks (23-6) had double figure leads and appeared poised to make quick work of the Wolves only to see their counterparts come back.

Principal in the King counterpunching was Lea, the slasher, and Leon Rosborough, the shooter. They combined for 51 points and 23 rebounds and seemed to always be in the mix whenever King needed a big hoop or two.

Down six points early in the fourth, King scored six quick points courtesy of Rosborough, who converted two three-point plays, one from beyond the arc, to knot the game at 55-55 with six minutes left.

After trading hoops for a piece, the Wolves built a four-point lead, 68-64, on a 10 footer by Matthew Thomas. But the Sea Hawks tied the score again one minute later on a bucket by White and two clutch free throws from Keith Ellison with 40 ticks left on the clock.

Ellison led Redondo with 22 points and eight assists. The senior point guard continually got inside the King defense for easy lay-ups. White finished with 20 points, while Adam Zahn added 14 points, 12 rebounds and three crowd-pleasing dunks. Eddie Topps, a football star who missed his entire senior season due to injury, also had 10 points and was a particular spark in the second half.

"At the half, the coach said leave it all on the court so you have no regrets," he said.


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