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Grant Knocks Poly Off Its Perch : Lancers Capture Birmingham Tournament Championship, 69-63

On the third day of the Birmingham Christmas tournament, the favored Grant High Lancers found themselves occupied not with French hens, but with the upset-minded Poly Parrots.

It didn’t matter to Grant, though, as the Lancers held off a second-half Poly rally and won the tournament final, 69-63, Thursday night.

The Lancers led at halftime, 33-21, but after tournament MVP Sean Watkins got into foul trouble and was removed from the game, Poly mounted a comeback.

Scott Cooper scored 8 of his 26 points in the third quarter and John Bruner added 6 as the Parrots outscored Grant, 22-9, and took a 43-42 lead into the final quarter.

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“When Watkins got into foul trouble, that hurt us,” Grant Coach Howard Levine said. “But when we got Watkins back in there, we started to go again.”

Watkins finished with 15 points. Chris Cooke scored 27.

Grant (8-2) regained the lead with an 11-5 run that began with 5 minutes to play and ended with the Lancers ahead, 62-56, and 2 minutes remaining. With 15 seconds left, Cooper hit a 3-point shot to pull the Parrots (6-5) to within 2 points, 65-63. But, Grant’s Troy Mcleod hit 2 free throws to seal the victory.

Bel-Air Prep 67, Van Nuys 51--Bel-Air Prep (6-5) trailed, 41-35, after 3 quarters, but rallied to win the consolation championship.

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Canoga Park 51, Monroe 49--Mario Rodriguez hit 2 free throws with 3 seconds left to give Canoga Park seventh place.

Six seconds earlier, Canoga Park (2-7) moved ahead, 49-47, on Jason Harper’s 2 free throws. Kenyon Wright then hit a pair from the free-throw line to tie the score, 49-49. But Wright fouled Rodriguez on Canoga Park’s inbound pass and Rodriguez hit the winning free throws.

Reseda 43, Birmingham 42--Playing for third place, Reseda (2-7) dealt Birmingham (4-6) its second last-minute loss in as many days. After trailing by 6 points with 2 minutes left, the Regents mounted a comeback behind Michael Hawkins’ 4 points and Donald Wilson’s 3-point shot.

Birmingham’s Tyronne Craig hit 2 free throws with 1:05 to play to give the Braves the lead. But Hawkins stole the ball from Craig with 20 seconds left and scored the winning layup.

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