It was the equivalent of a first-round knockout. Any fan who arrived late need not have bothered paying admission.
Minutes into the Southern Section 2-AA Division basketball final at the L. A. Sports Arena on Saturday, Santa Clara High held a 12-2 lead over Verbum Dei. The score was 16-2 after the first quarter.
For Shon Tarver, Santa Clara's 6-foot-5 senior guard, Verbum Dei was just another team with which to toy. With seemingly no effort, Tarver scored on layups, slam dunks, three-point shots and free throws.
At halftime, Santa Clara led, 38-18, and Tarver had outpointed Verbum Dei, 22-18.
Has there ever been a more one-sided Southern Section final? Has a single player ever dominated so completely?
The final score was 76-48. Every Santa Clara player saw action. Tarver, a Parade Magazine third-team All-American, left the game with 5 minutes 47 seconds to play. He had 31 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks and three assists.
Tarver dashed to the bench and gave Coach Lou Cvijanovich his best two-handed slam on the palms. Santa Clara's 11th Southern Section basketball title was well in hand.
"It was an easier game than I expected," Cvijanovich said.
With Tarver at his finest, there was never any doubt.