Christian High won the championship it expected to win, defeating Coronado, 70-60, in the boys' San Diego Section Division IV title game at the San Diego Sports Arena Thursday night.
But this one, Christian's second in a row at this level, wasn't as easy as expected.
Coronado, a team that finished 11-14 this season, stayed close throughout a sloppily played game and stretched Christian (14-11) to the limit.
David Jeremiah, Christian's leading scorer with a 23.0 average, finished with 18 points but he had to struggle to do it. Darrell White, who averages 18 per game, finished with 14. But, he too, had to struggle, especially after failing to score a field goal in the first half.
"Coronado sure gave us a lot of trouble," Christian Coach Randy Wright said.
But in the Division IV playoffs, there were only four teams. And in the end, Christian was surely the best of the group.
Jeremiah's outside shooting and White's inside toughness ultimately made the difference. Forward Tim Barkett also came through with 17 points and seven second-half rebounds.
And, even though it got 16 points from Derek Wastila and four three-point shots from Tim DeWitt, who finished with 12, Coronado just couldn't keep up.
"We didn't play well all night," Wright said. "But we played well when we had to."
Christian went 6 minutes 14 seconds without a field goal in the first quarter but still managed a 17-17 tie thanks to an eight-for-eight shooting performance from the free throw line and the outside shooting of Jeremiah.
Jeremiah hit a jumper moments after the opening tip, then hit Christian's second field goal of the game at the 1:41 mark.
In between, Coronado took control by pushing the ball inside to Wastila and Jesse MacNeill. Those two combined for 10 points and helped Coronado take a 17-10 lead.
But Jeremiah's second basket got Christian going, and by the time Jeremiah hit a three-pointer with 28 seconds left in the quarter, the game was tied.
Barkett helped Christian gain control of the game for the first time with seven points in the second quarter. He drove the lane for a three-point play in the final moments of the half and Christian took a 29-25 lead to the dressing room.