It was anything but artistic but it was a win, and Glendale High School basketball Coach Steve Keith took it gladly, no questions asked.
"Once we got to the playoffs, I didn't talk any more about the quality of our play," Keith said.
So, while he could hardly have been pleased by the Dynamiters' overall performance Wednesday night, Keith was pleased with the outcome--a 49-44 victory over Lynwood at the Long Beach Arena that put Glendale into the Southern Section 4-A championship game.
As has been the case all season, it was USC-bound guard Rich Grande who led the Dynamiters, top-seeded in the division and The Times' No. 2 team overall. Grande, who went into the game averaging 20.8 points a game, finished with 26, including 21 in the second half and all of his team's 13 third-quarter points. Center Jan Svoboda, who finished with 11 points, was the only other Glendale player in double figures.
Lynwood, meanwhile, got 14 points from forward Andre Edwards, but leading scorer Willie Joseph (averaging 57.3% from the field and 19.3 points per game) scored only four before fouling out.
The Knights had been averaging 76 points a game in the playoffs, but their 30th point Wednesday did not come until only 4:05 remained to be played as the taller Glendale squad effectively forced them out of their usual full-court game plan.
"We knew that if we got in a half-court game that we would not win," Lynwood co-Coach Bill Notley said.
Lynwood led, 15-10, after the first quarter, but Glendale ran off a 7-0 streak to start the second quarter and took a 21-19 lead by halftime.
After Grande single-handedly outscored Lynwood, 13-7, in the third quarter, the Dynamiters built a 34-26 edge into a 41-29 advantage with 4:21 to play in the game. But Glendale, which slipped by Capistrano Valley (58-55) and Camarillo (61-56) in its last two games, failed to put Lynwood away for good.
Trailing by 12 points, the Knights (27-2) called a timeout and then put together an 11-3 spurt and suddenly trailed by only four, 44-40. Glendale then responded with a timeout of its own, after which it rebuilt its lead to seven at 47-40 with 44 seconds to play.
In Saturday's championship game, the Dynamiters will face the winner of tonight's 7 o'clock game at the Long Beach Arena between Dominguez (22-4) and Buena (24-2).
Glendale and Mater Dei, which puts its 27-0 record on the line tonight against Serra in a 5-A game, are the only undefeated teams in the Southern Section.