Westchester (Los Angeles) 91, Clovis West (Fresno) 74
Clovis West's scrappy, in-your-face, three-point shooting, up-tempo style played right into the hands of the immensely talented Comets, who won easily. Brandon Heath, who is such a good player he was first team all-City as a junior but who has such talent around him that he now comes off the bench in most games, had one of his best games for Westchester and finished with 28 points. Trevor Ariza, the 6-9 junior, had 16 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks. Tyrese McDaniel did his best to keep Clovis West in it and racked up 33 points.
Long Beach Poly 76, Fairfax (Los Angeles) 66
The way the Jackrabbits played it's doubtful Fairfax could have won even if UCLA-bound Evan Burns played. The 6-7 Burns couldn't go due to the 14 stitches that were healing on his hand, courtesy of an accident he had a week ago. Poly pounded it inside and hit a lot of its outside shots, too. Reggie Butler made 10 of 14 from the field, finished with 22 points and added seven rebounds and three blocks. Point guard Carlos Rivers had 10 assists and scored 14 points. For Fairfax, Alex Bausley turned in a strong game and had 19 points.
NorCal Div. I
Tech (Oakland) 72, St. Mary's (Berkeley) 57
The Bulldogs have had a bad half here and there, but since early January they've been red-hot and have won every game going away. This one was no different. Junior Leon Powe dominated with 32 points and 19 rebounds. St. Mary's was the Div. IV state champion last year and perhaps should not have moved up. The competition in Div. IV this year was probably more to its level.
De La Salle (Concord) 56, Oakland 46
The Spartans have now won 15 straight and the defense seems to be playing at the level they've been at the last few years. That's the good news. The bad news is that the only ranked team they've beaten in the win streak is St. Mary's and Oakland Tech is next. Still, it wouldn't surprise anyone if coach Frank Allocco came up with some kind of scheme to slow down the Bulldog Express and players like Matt Schroeder, Matt Gutierrez and Joe Robinson all stepped up and sparked a major upset.
SoCal Div. II
Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 88, Pasadena 79
The Monarchs only led by two at the halftime break, but came on strong in the third quarter and built a solid lead heading down the stretch. Duwon Rice of the Bulldogs led the game in scoring with 30 points. Mater Dei countered with Wesley Washington's 19 points and Mike Strawberry's 18 points.
M.L.King (Riverside) 66, Redondo Union (Redondo Beach) 57
This was a rematch of the CIF Southern Section Div. II-A title game won by Redondo, 71-70. This time there was no last-second shot, either, as the Wolves didn't let the Seahawks hang around at the finish. Marvin Lea had 32 points, 11 rebounds and three assists for King. He also helped shut down Redondo's Wendell White, who was held to eight. Seahawk guard Keith Ellison completed an outstanding season and had 25 points. Ellison is going to San Diego State on a football ride, but you could make the case he was the team's MVP this season over Div. I basketball guys like White and Adam Zahn.
NorCal Div. II
St. Francis (Mountain View) 66, Shasta (Redding) 54
David Chiotti, the Lancers' 6-8 senior center, had 23 points and eight rebounds as they earned the right to defend their NorCal crown this weekend. John Montgomery, son of Stanford head coach Mike Montgomery, has played well in recent weeks and continued to do so against Shasta with 14 points.
Rio Americano (Sacramento) 44, Fremont (Sunnyvale) 37
Miles Taylor scored 14 points for Rio, which isn't playing St. Francis at home but at nearby UC Davis Rec Hall. That advantage might be enough to get the Raiders into the state finals (although that would probably be against Mater Dei, ouch.)
SoCal Div. III
Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 62, Palm Desert 45
The Knights led by 20 in the fourth quarter as their series of easy playoff wins continued. Fred Washington tossed in 23 points to lead the winners. Josh Zazulia had 19 for Palm Desert. Centennial (Compton) 53, Washington Union (Fresno) 49
The Apaches will get their rematch against Bishop Montgomery on Saturday (they lost by 53-51 in CIFSS Div. III-AA final), but they had to overcome a poor start vs. Washington as they trailed 10-0 to start the game. Sterling Byrd had 18 points and 12 rebounds for Centennial. Soph guard Arron Affalo was clutch again, too, as he made 4-of-4 free throws in the game's last two minutes to ice the victory.
NorCal Div. III
Sacred Heart Cathedral (S.F.) 62, Del Norte (Crescent City) 49
It wasn't even close to another mircaculous win at the end for Del Norte as the Irish controlled things from the start. Jason Hill scored 23 and Odido Odiye had 12 points and 14 rebounds for Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Riordan (S.F.) 69, Foothill (Sacramento) 66
While the Crusaders won and earned a fifth game this year against Sacred Heart Cathedral, coach Rich Forslund had to be concerned. John Tofi (22 points) and Marquise Kately (21 points) have just not been getting enough support from others. SHC has really exposed that weakness in the last two games between the WCAL rivals. It could happen again on Saturday, unless somebody steps up.
SoCal Div. IV
Horizon (San Diego) 77, Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood) 63
Horizon devoured another opponent, disposing of Harvard-Westlake in front of an overflow crowd estimated at 1,800 at their Clairemont Mesa campus. Nate Carter proved once and for all that he is the best player in San Diego County by going for 28 points and 16 rebounds and igniting a third quarter comeback to propel the Panthers to victory against another top quality opponent. Ever improving Jarod Dudley hauled down 15 rebounds and helped close the paint area during a 14-2 Horizon run that tied the game 55-55 at the end of three quarters.
Garces (Bakersfield) 73, Verbum Dei (Los Angeles) 64
Kyle Shiloh got hot from beyond the 3-point line for Garces as he made nine from long-range and scored 24 points. Richard Chaney and Mike Pagan both scored 21 for Verbum Dei, which may have done better if it didn't have to play Garces in Bakersfield. This is one of those games in which the seedings and travel priority numbers -- it was a close call as Verbum Dei could have been seeded higher than Garces -- turned out to have a major impact on which team made it to the regional final.
NorCal Div. IV
Wheatland 51, Monte Vista Christian (Watsonville) 49
This was the upset of the night in the NorCal playoffs of all the divisions. The Pirates haven't been on the Div. IV radar screen for much of the season, but went down to Watsonville and nipped a team that has won the last two CCS Div. IV titles. John Leigh's layup with 10 seconds left was the winning basket for Wheatland. MVC's Rudy Lopez missed a last-second shot that would have tied the score. Michael White, MVC's 6-8 center, fouled out with five minutes left, but Wheatland was short-handed at the end, too, as its leading scorer, Lawrence Wright, had fouled out one minute earlier. Leading scorers were Lee Harris for Wheatland with 18 and J.T. Tipton of MVC with 18. In a division (both North and South) dominated by private schools, it's good to see a one-school, one-town team like Wheatland making it this far. And if the Pirates are good enough to beat MVC they are definitely good enough to beat Valley Christian and advance to the state finals.
Valley Christian (San Jose) 60, Encina (Sacramento) 54
Not much was available other than the score in this game on either the Sacramento Bee or San Jose Mercury-News sites. Valley Christian is a team with 11 losses, but don't let that fool you. Almost all those losses came in tough league games to foes lik