One Day Later: Notebook of a Saturday at the Pond

One day after the day session crowd at the Pond in Anaheim was treated to four tense CIF-Southern Section boys basketball finals, and the evening session crowd got to wonder why these talented boys couldn't hit their free throws in the spacious arena, we bring you a little snapshot of the flavor of championship Saturday, both on and off the court.

Fastest time to foul trouble: Sterling Byrd, Compton Centennial. Two fouls in game's first 27 seconds.

Fastest time to pick up consecutive fouls:Gavin Lee, Bishop Montgomery. Two in eight seconds midway through the first quarter of the morning game vs. Centennial..

Football players masquerading as hoop stars: 1. Darius Sanders, Compton Centennial. We know the 6-foot-6 power forward made his rep as a star hooper at Dominguez, but with those broad shoulders and huge guns, he showed he's ideally suited for football by starring his senior year at Lynwood (and later transferring to Centennial). His one-year of football was enough to impress Oregon which signed him to a scholarship as a DE. 2. Dave AndersonThousand Oaks. Didn't get enough pub for great hands and speed on the gridiron, he also didn't get nearly enough pub for what he can do with a basketball in his hands, which is to say, he can do it all. 3. Joe Johnson, Palm Desert. Only 5-8, but there isn't any part of him that's not a bulging muscle. Did you see his calves?

Ankle breakers: Brandon Peace,Bishop Montgomery. Actually it wasn't a cross-over but an ill, silky smooth behind the back dribble that freed him for an easy lay-up. Marvin Lea, Riverside King. Everyone knows he's going to penetrate, you put multiple defenders on him to try and stop it, but you just can't. Michael Gerrity, Mater Dei. Only a freshman, but handles the ball as well as anyone and knows who his scorers are.

First dunk: Centennial's 6-2 sophomore Gabe Pruitt took a bounce pass down the lane in the opening game versus Bishop Montgomery and elevated just high enough to rattle the rim with a n-i-c-e jam. Bishop's Fred Washington later had two fast break jams of his own in the same game.

Best dunk: A close category, with so many highlight jams. 1. Redondo Union's Adam Zahn. Late in the game, with his team down a deuce, the 6-8 senior drop stepped to the baseline, whirled around a defender, dribbled once and elevated with a resounding reverse jam in traffic that went straight down through the hoop. 2. Long Beach Poly's Reggie Butler. Twice he took lob passes from Carlos Rivers on the break for crowd-pleasing dunks. The second time, when the momentum was turning in favor of Eisenhower, the 6-6 senior seemed to reach for the rafters to gather in the ball before finishing with the flush. 3. Mater Dei's Wesley Washington.The high-flying junior caught his defender staring at point guard Michael Gerrity and cut hard to the basket. A perfect bounce pass found Washington in stride, who elevated and threw down an electrifying one-hand jam.

Total dunks: 13. Zahn (3), Butler (2), Fred Washington (2), Pruitt (1), Wesley Washington (1), Wendell White (Redondo) (1), Marvin Lea (Riverside King) (1), Marcedes Lewis (Poly) (1), Sean Marshall (Eisenhower) (1).

Best loose ball scramble:In the early moments of the second quarter game between Centennial and Bishop, 6-5 Fred Washington and 5-8 Michael Gordon went to the floor trying to corral the pill after Gordon's failed spin move. The ball caromed into the key where Darius Sanders and Bryson Scott collectively knocked it out to the wing. That's where Brandon Peace slapped it through Arron Afflalo's legs and out of bounds.

Best plays, worst results: 1. Riverside King double teams Wendell White of Redondo Union with the Sea Hawks down two and the game on the line. White still launches a three-point prayer under heavy pressure that banks in with 2.0 seconds left. 2. With less than two minutes left in the half of the Centennial/Bishop game, Brandon Peace intercepts a lob pass intended for Sanders, but can't control it without going out of bounds. So he tries a backhanded flip. Gabriel Pruitt collects the ball and drives to the basket where he converts the lay-in and is fouled in the process by Peace for a three-point play.

Big blocks:1. Poly's Marcedes Lewis gets his hand on a Sean Marshall dunk attempt and swats the ball all the way to half court. 2. In the fourth quarter with Centennial up one and on a fast break, Fred Washington comes from the weak side to swat an easy Jonathan Smith layup off the glass. 3. Palm Desert forward Quintin Watkins gets a pass on the wing and rises for a 20 footer in the third quarter of the game with Bishop Amat. Lancer senior forward George Balderas, 6-7, swats it over the press table and into the front row. 4. Redondo's Eddie Topps gets a bounce pass on the baseline and tries for a lay-up, but the shot gets pinned to the board by King's Matthew Thomas. 5. Marshall gets swatted from Reggie Butler on the weak side. Bobby Jones let Marshall go, but Butler rises (quickly) to the occasion.

Thievery: Bishop Amat's Paul Porter steps in front of a pass on the wing and takes it to the bank to give the Lancers a 20-19 lead over Palm Desert two minutes into the third quarter.

Long range mastery: 1. Up a point with time winding down in the third quarter, Bishop Amat guard David Pierson lets fly from 45 feet and swishes it as the horn sounds. 2. Loyola's Vince Taylor makes a triple at the halftime buzzer to keep the Cubs in the game.

Mister Clutch: 1. Redondo's White wearing the glass slipper with his game-winning three-point bank shot with 2.0 seconds left. 2. Loyola's Omar Wilkes, who cans the off-balance, one-handed 15-footer with 10 seconds left to give the Cubs the win over Thousand Oaks.

Best fans: 1. Loyola, whose football team kept the arena buzzing with its energetic rants. 2. Palm Desert. Who knew the entire town would show up for the CIF finals?

Parting Shots

Fred Washington, Bishop Montgomery, on finishing third in the tough Del Rey League: "This feels good. You don't get a ring for Del Rey League championships.

Marvin Lea, Riverside King, after his spinner in the lane rattled in to give the Wolves a two-point lead over Redondo with 12 seconds left: "I felt that was the ballgame. I felt like we had it won."

Coach Tim Sweeney, Riverside King, on Redondo's huge height advantage: "I knew if we won the battle of the boards, we'd have a legit shot to win and we did that."

Eddie Topps, Redondo Union, on winning a CIF title after the star football player missed the entire football season with a broken foot: "It eases the pain a little bit."

Coach Tom Maier, Redondo Union, on Wendell White's game-winning trey: "He had the presence of mind to take that shot. Fortunately for us, it went in."


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