After playing second fiddle to undefeated Manual Arts all season, Crenshaw helped erase the memory of last season’s State playoff semifinal loss by defeating the Toilers, 85-72, to gain the City 4-A boys’ basketball championship Friday night before a crowd of 12,000 at the Sports Arena.
With surprising ease, Crenshaw won its second consecutive City title and its fifth in the last six years by wearing down the Toilers in the second half.
“We knew if we kept the (full-court) pressure on that it would work,” said Terry Cannon, who led Crenshaw with 31 points. “We kept taunting them and making them think rather than letting them rely on instinct.”
Crenshaw is 21-2; Manual Arts is 24-1.
In the first quarter, Manual Arts capitalized on eight Crenshaw turnovers to take a 19-18 lead. Senior guard Eddie Wilson provided the spark off the bench with six points.
With Cannon scoring eight points in the second period, Crenshaw raced to a 33-26 lead at halftime.
The Cougars also received a lift inside from forwards Nicholas Bragg and Cornelius Banks.
Bragg, a 6-foot-5 reserve, had four points in the period and also blocked an attempted layin by the Toilers’ star center Kent Bennett. Bragg, along with Banks, who had nine points in the half, helped limit Bennett to nine points through two periods.
The Toilers started the second half as flat as they ended the first, and Crenshaw maintained control with Cannon continuing to hit from the outside and driving inside at will. At the end of the third period, the Cougars led, 58-44.