The third time proved to be a charm for Fairfax, which dethroned Harbor City Narbonne, 47-37, in the Los Angeles City Section Division I girls' basketball final Saturday night at Los Angeles Southwest College.
The top-seeded Lions (29-6) had lost the previous two championship games to Narbonne by scores of 65-60 last season and 50-44 the year before, but they wrote a different script on this
occasion, taking control in the final minutes to earn a measure of revenge against the Marine League champions.
"We were the No. 1 seed and so we came in much more confident than we were last year," Fairfax Coach Judi Edwards said. "I think that helped us pull through at the end."
Fairfax, which went undefeated en route to winning the Western League, outscored the defending champions 28-17 in the second half behind 6-foot-3 junior post player Marguerite Effa, who finished with 23 points, including nine in the fourth quarter.
In the semifinals, TyBriann Jones had scored 17 points and La'Tecia Smith added 13 points for the second-seeded Gauchos in a 52-37 victory over No. 3 Palisades. Effa had 16 for the Lions in their 44-33 triumph over No. 4 Granada Hills. The final was everything it was expected to be, with neither team pulling too far ahead.
The Gauchos (24-9) led 11-9 after the first quarter and 20-19 at halftime, but Fairfax pulled ahead 34-31 entering the fourth quarter. Smith scored 17 points of her 23 points in the first half for Narbonne.
Effa had 21 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks in last year's finals defeat.
Despite Saturday's loss, the Gauchos will join Fairfax in the CIF state playoffs.