Locke High School ran into a fourth-quarter slump, and Delano took advantage to pull out a 45-44 win in the semifinals of the Southern California Regional Girls Championship at Bakersfield College.
Delano, 26-1 and the Central Section champion, advances to Saturday night's regional championship game against Point Loma at 7:15 in the Sports Arena.
Junior guard Susan Lowry did the damage for Delano. With Locke leading, 40-32, with 5:57 left, Lowry scored 11 straight points while Locke was held scoreless, lifting Delano to a 43-40 lead with 2:55 left.
Locke fought back to tie it on a free throw by Toni Brown and Dorothy Hardaway's 15-foot set shot with 1:40 remaining. But Delano center Shelly Wallace countered with a 10-foot jumper to account for what proved to be the winning basket.
Nancy Clayton, Locke's 6-foot center who averaged 21 points a game, faced a double-teaming defense for much of the second half as Delano attempted to deny her the ball. She finished with 14 points and pulled down 12 rebounds.
Denise Beck, a two-time All-City selection, was held to 10 points.
Lowry was the game's top scorer with 19 points, even though she had an off-night from the outside. Wallace, a 5-foot-10 center and Delano's top scorer this year with a 17.5 average, was held to 10 but pulled down 18 rebounds.