The City Section Division II championship boys' basketball game began Friday night with Bernstein High being assessed a technical foul for wearing illegal uniforms. They have a dragon on the back, in violation of the national federation rules.
Venice also would have been called for a technical for having its school name appear vertically on its uniforms — it needs to be horizontal — but the Gondoliers got new uniforms delivered 10 minutes before game time at Roybal High in Los Angeles. The delivery man made it despite L.A. traffic.
What's a City Section final without a little controversy? Remember the pink uniforms of the Narbonne girls' team last season?
Bernstein fell behind by 17 points in the second quarter Friday, went up by 19 in the third quarter, then held on for an 86-80 victory.
LaMonte Lair, a 6-foot junior guard who didn't play high school basketball until this season, scored 26 points for Bernstein (27-5), a winner of 19 consecutive games. Nick Shekelle, a 6-4 junior, led Venice with 25 points.
"We lost the dragon," said Bernstein Coach Phil Rodgers, whose team won the Division III title last year. "It's OK. It doesn't matter what uniform we wear. It's about our heart."
The Dragons rallied from a 31-14 deficit to tie the score at halftime, 38-38. They went on an 18-2 run. Then they outscored Venice, 29-14, in the third quarter.
Lair kept making basket after basket, including five in the fourth quarter.
"I started feeling it," he said. "The team needed me."
In the Southern Section 4AA final at Azusa Pacific University, Gardena Serra defeated Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, 53-50. The Knights made a potential game-tying three with two seconds left, but it was waved off because of a 35-second shot-clock violation.
Ray Knight came off the bench to score 18 points for Serra. Chibueze Jacobs led Notre Dame with 16 points.
In 3A, Pomona Diamond Ranch defeated West Hills Chaminade, 53-48.
In the 4A final at Godinez High in Santa Ana, Calabasas Viewpoint won its first title with a 58-46 win over Pasadena La Salle. Harvard-bound Christian Juzang scored 18 of his 20 points in the third quarter. Aram Arslanian finished with 22.
North Hollywood won its first City Section title in girls' basketball with a 61-44 victory over Venice in the Division II final at Roybal.
The Huskies (18-4) survived a barrage of three-pointers by Venice to open a nine-point halftime lead, then took charge in the third quarter. Giselle Ramirez scored 14 points, Miya Bleeker 12 and Aisha Burton had 11 points and 15 rebounds. Venice made six threes in the first half, none after halftime.
In the Southern Section 4AA final, Francesca Facchini made a three-pointer with six seconds left to give Santa Fe Springs St. Paul a 45-44 win over Duarte.
In 4A, Long Beach St. Anthony defeated Montebello Cantwell Sacred-Heart, 56-40.