Compton Dominguez High, considered by many the most talented boys' basketball team in California, was an unlikely loser in the state tournament finals Friday night.
In front of 5,042 at the Oakland Coliseum Arena, the Dons, ranked No. 2 in the state and mentioned in several national polls, were upset by St. Francis of Mountain View, 73-65, in the Division II title game.
On a day when Southern Regional teams won the first three finals, Dominguez (33-3) figured to make it a clean sweep. Its only losses had been to highly regarded Inglewood in overtime and to traditional power Lynwood. Dominguez breezed through the regionals, winning three games by an average of 31 points.
But against St. Francis (27-8), which turned its season around after losing its first three league games and won 13 games in a row, the Dons get never got in sync. They trailed by two points at the end of the first quarter and by as many as six in the second.
With two of St. Francis' top players, guard Senque Carey and forward Robbie Coley, burdened with four fouls, Dominguez twice pulled within two points in the third quarter. But the Lancers, who shot 51%, maintained their lead.
Dominguez shot only 36% and hit only four of 20 three-point shots. Sophomore guard Kenney Brunner, who averaged 21 points a game, hit two of 10 shots and finished with seven points.
Tommy Prince finished with nine points and one rebound after averaging 22 points all season.
"Let's not take away anything from St. Francis," Dominguez Coach Russell Otis said. "They came ready to play and we didn't make things happen. I kept waiting for us to get over the hump, and we just couldn't do it."
Said St. Francis Coach Steve Filios: "I think our defense gave them more fits than they expected. It really was our saving grace."
Van Nuys Montclair Prep 83, San Francisco University 67--Anwawn Jones, a 6-foot-5 junior forward, scored a game-high 26 points and had 13 rebounds to lead Montclair Prep (28-5) in the Division V final.
It was the first state championship victory for the Mounties, who did not qualify for the playoffs last season and weren't happy about it.
Four of Montclair Prep's starters also played on the football team, which won the Southern Section Division X title last season. Jones was a standout linebacker, and point guard Akil Anderson, who added 13 points and a divisional record eight assists, rushed for 1,500 yards.
Montclair Prep is not in a league and plays a free-lance schedule.
"We felt a little bitter last year when we were left out the playoffs with a 15-6 record," Montclair Prep Coach Howard Abrams said. "This makes up for it, though."
University's 25-game winning streak was snapped. The Red Devils (28-4) were led by senior center Mark Mamakos, who had 17 points and seven rebounds.
Montclair Prep's 83 points were a record high in the Division V final.