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St. Joseph Overcomes Fremont

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Jason Kidd of Alameda St. Joseph scored 25 points, including nine in the fourth quarter, to lift the Pilots to a 67-61 victory over Los Angeles Fremont Saturday night and end Southern California’s nine-year domination of the boys’ State Division I high school basketball championships.

Before a crowd of 11,820, Kidd rallied St. Joseph (31-3) from a 10-point second-half deficit, as the Pilots outscored Fremont, 22-11, in the fourth quarter to win Northern California’s first major division state title since 1981.

Fremont (34-2), the City 3-A Division champion, did a good job containing Kidd for three quarters but hurt itself with 26 turnovers overall and several missed shots in the fourth quarter.

“Kidd is a fantastic ballplayer who carried his team and won them a championship,” Fremont Coach Sam Sullivan said.

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Kidd, a 6-foot-4 junior guard, lived up to his billing as the nation’s top undergraduate with eight rebounds, seven steals, four assists and a blocked shot to go along with his game-high point total.

Fremont took a 21-15 halftime lead after an 8-8 first-quarter tie.

Antione Dent and Lamont Conway gave the Pathfinders a boost in the half, with eight points apiece as substitutes. Fremont slowed St. Joseph’s running and outrebounded the Pilots, 27-16.

At the start, Fremont’s game plan of applying pressure to Kidd with multiple defenders was effective. Kidd forced several shots while making only one of seven in the first half. St. Joseph stayed in the game with senior guard Kris Stone scoring eight points.

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Fremont opened a 33-23 lead early in the third quarter on a fast-break layup by Todd Whitehead, but Adrian Ealy rallied St. Joseph’s to a 10-0 run to tie it.

Fremont responded with a spurt of its own, sparked by center Michael Tate and guard Chris Ford, who combined for 11 points as the Pathfinders took a 50-45 lead into the fourth quarter.

In the fourth quarter, St. Joseph’s pressure defense began to take a toll, as the Pilots tied, 53-53, on a basket by Ealy, who finished with 22 points. Fremont took its last lead, 59-58, on a basket by Tate, who had a title-game record 20 rebounds and 10 points.

In the game’s final three minutes, Kidd--playing with four fouls--scored seven points, made three steals and had two assists.

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