Sports

TOP BILLING

Paul Pierce of Inglewood High lived up to his billing Tuesday night. So did Dominguez.

The Kansas-bound Pierce scored 35 points, including five three-point baskets, and grabbed 14 rebounds, but the Dons held off a furious rally to defeat the Sentinels, 83-74, in a Southern Section Division II-A semifinal game at Compton College.

It was the second victory in three meetings for Dominguez, which also defeated the Sentinels in double overtime, 87-83, in the final of the Artesia tournament.

"If I never have to coach against him again, I'll be the happiest man in the world," Dominguez High Coach Russell Otis said about Pierce. "I just kept looking at the clock. It seemed to be going the other way instead of ticking down. I knew we had the better team and eventually we would pull through."

Dominguez (28-2) bolted to a 48-24 third-quarter lead against Inglewood (26-4) and was ahead, 62-42, with six minutes to play. The 6-foot-7 Pierce had 21 points in the fourth quarter to help Inglewood close to 73-70 with 1 minute 15 seconds left on his third three-point basket of the quarter.

But Dominguez, which played most of the final quarter without three starters after Tommy Prince, Kenny Brunner and James Brown fouled out, held off the Sentinels by making 13 of 15 free throws in the final quarter and 28 of 36 in the game to earn its third consecutive appearance in a division final.

Dominguez, which lost to J.W. North and St. John Bosco in the championship the previous two seasons, plays Tustin (28-1) at the Anaheim Arena at 1 p.m. Saturday.

"As long as we kept hitting our free throws, I knew we would win," said Tremain Ross, who had nine points and made seven of eight free throws in the fourth quarter. "We don't play individual ball, we play team ball. We have more than one player. We have team depth."

Brown finished with a team-high 20 points and Jones scored 12. Jason Thomas added nine points and 10 rebounds for Dominguez.

* Dominguez's celebration was short-lived Tuesday night. Moments after a postgame prayer in the locker room, the team discovered thieves, apparently entering through an open window, had stolen money and personal valuables from the player's bags.

"For every silver lining, there is a cloud I suppose," Otis said.

* Long Beach Poly (20-9) will defend its I-AA title against Fontana (24-6) at the Anaheim Arena at 6:45 Saturday night.

Damion Dawson and Mike McDonald each scored 16 points to lead the top-seeded Jackrabbits to a 58-48 semifinal victory over Los Alamitos at the Pyramid Tuesday.

* Artesia, making its sixth appearance in a Southern Section title game in seven seasons, and Centennial, playing in its first championship since 1958, will meet in the Division III-A final at 11:45 a.m. Saturday at the Anaheim Arena.

Dajuan Wilson and Jonathan Nelson scored 17 points each to lift Artesia (25-3) to an 80-75 semifinal victory over Redondo Tuesday at North Torrance High.

Centennial (18-11) beat Rancho Verde, 70-66, behind an 18-point, eight-rebound and five-assists performance by Kenzie Weir in the other semifinal at Dominguez High.

* UCLA teammates Charles and Ed O'Bannon had an impact during Artesia's success the past seven seasons, helping the Pioneers to three State Division II titles.

The O'Bannon family, though, has had an influence this season.

Charles, whose jersey was retired at Artesia earlier this season, was on the Artesia bench for the Pioneer's semifinal victory over Redondo. His father Ed O'Bannon Sr. served as an honorary coach during the Pioneers' quarterfinal game against Bishop Montgomery.

* Valley Christian will seek its fourth consecutive Southern Section girls' title Friday against Crossroads in a Division IV-A game at the Pyramid at 3 p.m. Friday.

Tandee Taylor had 25 points and Joi-Lin Hunt and Jodi Parriott scored 14 and 11 points each to lead Valley Christian (25-3) to a semifinal victory Saturday at Montebello High.

* Long Beach Poly (23-4) earned a berth in the Division I-AA semifinals with a 67-53 quarterfinal road victory over Victor Valley. K.K. Johns had 25 points and Lankea Allen contributed 15 and 13 points apiece for Poly.

The Jackrabbits played Hesperia (20-7) in a semifinal Wednesday night at Victor Valley College. The winner will play Peninsula in the championship Friday at the Pyramid.

GRUDGE MATCH

Wrestler Ray Granillo of Glenn won the 191-pound division at the Southern Section Masters Meet to advance to the state meet for the second consecutive year. The senior pinned two of his four opponents, including Dani Mouri of Glendora in the championship.

The top eight wrestlers in each weight class qualified for the state meet, which is scheduled for Friday and Saturday at the University of Pacific in Stockton.

Granillo was among five Glenn wrestlers to advance. Miguel Soto and Monico Enriquez of Glenn finished second at 132 and 147 pounds. Fo-Fo Dominguez and David Magote were eighth in the 140- and 154-pound divisions for Glenn, which defeated Highland, 47-12, to win its third consecutive Division IV championship Feb. 23.

Other state meet qualifiers included Juan Rodriguez of Montebello and Gabriel Ochoa of Paramount at 142 pounds, Robert Garcia of Schurr (162) and Josh Lewis of Santa Fe (173).

* In the City Section finals at Granada Hills High, Jose Parra and Ricky Price of Bell won titles in the 127- and 147-pound weight classes to qualify for the state meet. Ralph Leon and Aldo Ybarra were also second at 121 and 162 pounds to help Bell to fifth in the team standings.

ONE OF A KIND

The Long Beach Jordan boys and Long Beach Poly girls will make their first appearance in a Southern Section soccer final Saturday at Gahr High.

Jordan (18-1-5) will play Santa Barbara in the boys' Division II final at 2 p.m. and Poly (18-4-4) plays Buena in the girls' Division II championship at 8 p.m.

David Lara had three goals as top-seeded Jordan rolled to a 5-1 semifinal victory over South Torrance Tuesday. Halmar Carranza, who had three assists, and Oscar Quintero also scored goals.

The victory came on the heels of a dramatic 2-1 quarterfinal victory over Moore League rival Lakewood on a goal in the final minute by Bogard Quintinar.

Sarah Kaminsky of Poly scored the decisive goal early in the second half to lift the Jackrabbits to a 1-0 victory over El Modena Tuesday. Goalkeeper Cheri Phillips earned her second shutout in four playoff matches.

TEST OF TIME

Michael Granville of Bell Gardens High won the 800 meters in 1:50.80 in the Simplot Games indoor track meet in Pocatello, Ida, Feb. 19 to break a 31-year-old national record.

The time shattered the previous indoor junior national record of 1:53.2 set by Larry Kelly of Illinois in 1964 and was the third-fastest high school time ever. Granville also holds the freshman and sophomore indoor records at 800 meters.

Aminah Haddad of Long Beach Poly won the 200 meters in 24.23, the seventh fastest mark of all time. Haddad also joined Myesha Williams, Pam Sampson and Andrea Anderson on the Jackrabbits 1,600-meter relay team, which had fourth fastest time ever in winning in 3:48.58.

Anderson, Simpson and Haddad combined with Sherron Rhetta in the sprint medley (400, 200, 200, 800) to record the No. 4 mark in placing second in 4:04.74. New York City won in a national record 4:00.5, breaking the 1994 record of 4:04.28 set by Oakland Skyline.

Simpson also placed third in the long jump at 18 feet 11 inches.

LaKeisha Backus of Long Beach Wilson edged Anderson in the 55 meters and ran on the Bruins' victorious 800-meter relay team (1:41.38) and 1,600-meter relay team that placed sixth (4:04.74).

COMMUNITY COLLEGES

The Cerritos and Long Beach City College men's basketball teams reached the second round of the Southern California Regional playoffs. Cerritos advanced with a 104-85 victory over Compton Saturday and Long Beach beat Cypress, 72-70.

Second-seeded Cerritos (30-1) played Imperial Valley (22-11) Wednesday and No. 5 Long Beach (25-8) played Valley (19-12).

Darius Rutledge of Cerritos had 20 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Falcons against Compton.

Wayne Allen and Kelly Hambrick scored 17 and 15 points each. Allen was seven of nine from the field and also had eight rebounds. Hambrick made five of five shots, including three three-point baskets. Eric Barnes added 14 points and seven assists and Derrick Barnes and Joey Gorini scored 10 each.

Long Beach's Marcus Woods made two free throws with seven seconds remaining for the winning points against Cypress. Mark Neal had 23 points and 15 rebounds and Blanton had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Long Beach.

* Sophomore center Michelle Coleman and guard Liz Espinosa combined for four school records for Cerrito women's basketball team, which finished 22-11.

Coleman set season records for rebounds (348) and rebound average (11.8). She set another record with 23 rebounds in a game.

Espinosa set season records in assists (220) and assist average (6.9). The Downey High graduate has 341 assists in two seasons, one short of the career record.

Cerritos beat Citrus, 69-67, in the second round of the Southern California Regional playoffs Feb. 23 before a 70-52 defeat to top-seeded Ventura in the third round Saturday.

* Elana Adams of Compton was selected as the South Coast Conference most valuable player. The sophomore guard averaged 21.1 points.

Andrea Haynes was also selected to the All-South Coast Conference first team and Wakia Bipson and Eugenia Mays were named to the second team for Compton.

Freshman guards Joe Austin and Marquis Flemmons of Compton were chosen to the All-Southern California Athletic Conference team. Austin averaged 20.1 points and 4.8 assists and Flemmons averaged 16.7 points.

BEACH BALL

The Long Beach State men's basketball team is in contention to win its first Big West Conference title since 1977 with two regular-season games left.

The 49ers (17-7, 13-3 in conference), winners of 10 conference games in a row, hold a one-game lead over Utah State (19-6, 12-4) going into tonight's game at third-place New Mexico State (20-8, 11-5). A win against the Aggies or Saturday at Nevada Las Vegas will clinch a share of the title.

Last week, Long Beach defeated Cal State Fullerton, 73-57, and UC Irvine, 84-71, to set a school record for most conference wins in a season.

Senior center Joe McNaull, who averages 12.2 points and seven rebounds, leads the conference in field-goal percentage at .642. Terrence O'Kelley and Rasul Salahuddin average 10.3 points and 5.3 assists, respectively.

* The Long Beach women's basketball team closes out the regular season with home games against New Mexico State tonight and UNLV Saturday.

Melissa Gower had 19 points and 12 rebounds in a 74-71 victory over Cal State Fullerton to help the 49ers improve to 13-11 and 10-6 in conference.

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