Morningside and South Torrance Square Off for III-AA Title


For the first time in Southern Section history, two South Bay boys’ basketball teams will meet in a divisional final when Morningside plays South Torrance for the III-AA title at 6 tonight at Cal Poly Pomona.

It will be the sixth appearance in a divisional final for top-seeded Morningside (25-5) and the first for third-seeded South (26-2). Morningside, the defending State Division III champion, also won titles in 1955, 1974 and 1985.

The all-South Bay matchup highlights eight sectional championship games involving area teams this weekend.


In other boys’ finals tonight, Banning (16-12) meets Monroe of North Hills (23-3) for the City 3-A title at 6:30 at the Sports Arena, Serra (21-7) plays Verbum Dei (22-4) in the Southern IV-A final at 7:30 at El Camino College, St. Bernard (14-15) goes against Corona del Mar (16-12) in the IV-AA final at 7:30 at Estancia High in Costa Mesa, and Chadwick (21-7) meets Brethren Christian of Cypress (22-7) for the V-AA title at 7:30 at Cypress College.

In girls’ finals, Narbonne (16-10) meets Jefferson (25-3) for the City 3-A championship at 2:30 p.m. today at the Sports Arena, Morningside (25-2) plays Alemany of Mission Hills (25-4) in the Southern III-AA final at 11:15 a.m. Saturday at Loyola Marymount, and St. Bernard (24-4) meets Santa Ynez (26-1) for the IV-AA title at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at El Segundo High.

South Coach LaMont Henry labeled his team the underdog against Morningside shortly after the Spartans’ 65-62 semifinal victory over Bishop Montgomery on Tuesday night.

“Matchup wise, the Monarchs have the advantage,” Henry said. “They are very quick and very fast. They’re quicker than we are.”

Morningside’s balanced lineup includes three seniors who have signed letters of intent with Division I schools--6-foot-4 swingman Stais Boseman (USC), 6-7 center Corey Saffold (Oklahoma) and 6-0 guard Donminic Ellison (Washington State). All three have double-digit scoring averages, as does swingman Dwight Curry, a 6-2 senior.

In Morningside’s 85-63 semifinal victory over Santa Margarita, Boseman scored 20 points, Ellison 18 and Curry 15.

The Ocean League champion Monarchs have won their playoff games by margins of 23, 30 and 22 points but showed a vulnerable side during the regular season in losses against Inglewood, Torrance and Mira Costa.

South, the Pioneer League champion, relies on 6-7 center Kyle McIntosh and 5-9 point guard Jimmy Williamson. The seniors combined for 51 of the Spartans’ 65 points against Bishop Montgomery, including a game-high 29 by Williamson.

South, which has a 14-game winning streak, suffered both of its losses in nonleague games against Peninsula.

Morningside Coach Carl Franklin said his team will try to wear down South with defense and speed.

“The biggest thing is that we set the kind of tempo we want,” Franklin said. “We like to play quicker than they do. We want to (pressure) them. It won’t be anything special. We won’t go to any kind of gimmick defense unless we have to.”