Rich Grande's play in the fourth quarter of the Southern Section 4-A championship Saturday night was typical of the way he has played the entire season.
Grande, the team's heart and soul and leading scorer, picked up his fourth foul of the game with 6:37 remaining and the Dynamiters holding a 40-34 lead. Grande, one foul away from being disqualified in a close game, was never taken out and even scored eight of his game-high 26 points before fouling out with 42 seconds left as Glendale beat Dominguez, 52-49, to win the title at the Long Beach Arena.
"My first thought was, 'Oh my gosh, we're in big trouble,' " forward Fred Bickett said of Grande and the Dynamiters getting into trouble. "But then I realized that he's such a good player and that if he could hang on, we could hang on."
Glendale, The Times' No. 2 team with a 28-0 record, held a 52-43 advantage when Grande fouled out. Dominguez then scored six straight points to close out the game.
Dominguez (23-5) never led after the beginning of the second quarter, thanks, in part, to the defense of center Bob Mulcahey, who had a big role in he game's outcome despite only scoring two points. With Glendale up by three after a basket by Grande with 2:05 to play, Mulcahey blocked a shot underneath by the Dons' Chris Ceballos. Then, after Grande scored on a driving layin to pad the lead to 48-43, Mulcahey struck again with 1:03 left, blocking another shot inside by Curtis Williams.
The Dynamiters scored the next four points from the free-throw line and had a nine-point lead again. That's when Grande fouled out.
"I was hungry," said Mulcahey, one of Glendale's five senior starters. "I was going to go wherever the action was. I saw the guys with the ball and went right after them."
Glendale Coach Steve Keith, who took a front-line oriented team to the 2-A title in 1981, said he thought about going to a four-corner offense in the fourth quarter to work some time off the clock and keep Grande in as long as possible. It was clear to him, as well as the entire team, that the outcome could have been different if Grande went out sooner.
"I don't know for sure," Mulcahey said. "But I sure hate to think about it."
Williams finished with 19 points, and Ceballos had 18 for the Dons, who played without No. 3 scorer Michael Moore, who broke his ankle in the semifinal win over Buena. UCLA-bound guard Rod Palmer hit only 1 of 10 shots from the field and scored two points.