Crenshaw, ranked No. 1 in the state, conducted a slam 'n jam clinic at the Sports Arena Saturday night, crushing Fresno Edison, 100-62, in the Southern California boys' Division I championship game.
The Cougars (23-0) advanced to next Saturday night's State championship game at Oakland, where they will meet Northern winner Logan of Union City. Crenshaw, which reached the century mark for the 12th time this season, will be shooting for its second title in three years, having won in 1983.
Crenshaw started slowly, trailing, 9-3, in the opening moments of the game. But as a crowd of 4,000 looked on, the Cougars rallied to take a 24-17 lead at the end of the quarter.
Then Crenshaw's vaunted press went into overdrive, forcing Edison into repeated turnovers. Eleven first-half steals resulted in a 55-29 advantage and a number of dunks.
Coach Bob Purdy was stunned by the onslaught.
"We weren't ready to execute against that pressure,' he said. "Honestly, I think Crenshaw is almost as good as Fresno State. They had four or five guys with their elbows on the rim. There is no way we could stay with that.'
Guard Stephen Thompson, Crenshaw's Prince of Suspended Animation, led the Cougars with 24 points. Forward Paul Weakley (19) and center Stanley Brundy (16) intimidated inside, while guard David Carter and forward Dion Brown led the defense.
The victory was a vindication of sorts for City basketball since Fairfax, the 3-A champion, was beaten by Edison, 72-62, last Tuesday.
In fact, the Fresno Bee, in its lead story last Wednesday, suggested that Fresno basketball was entitled to respect, the reporter writing: "Take that, L.A.'
Unfortunately for Edison (26-4), the only thing it will be taking out of Los Angeles is a memory of being beaten by what appears to be the finest high school team in California.
Edison was led by center Steve McGlothlin with 13 points.