Verbum Dei Finds Sweet Revenge in Beating Lincoln to Gain Finals Berth


Verbum Dei High took some revenge in earning its way to the CIF state basketball final.

Andre Smith scored 19 points to lead four Eagles in double figures as Verbum Dei beat defending champion San Diego Lincoln, 94-70, in the Division IV Southern Regional championship game March 11 at Cal State Fullerton.

The Eagles (25-5) played San Bruno Capuchino (26-5) in the state Division IV championship game Saturday at the Oakland Coliseum.

"We're breaking new ground," said Verbum Dei Coach Mike Kearney after the Eagles' victory over Lincoln, who ousted Verbum Dei from the Southern Regionals last year.

The victory was particularly sweet for Verbum Dei guard Ivory Burris, who was installed in the starting lineup midway through the season.

"This has been a tough season because we struggled early," said Burris, who had nine points, six rebounds, six assists and five steals. "We've been playing harder and more together in the last 10 games."

Verbum Dei forced 21 first-half turnovers and 34 in the game.

"Ivory is our best defender and gets everyone involved in the offense," Kearney said.

Sophomore Phillip Blackmon scored 17 points as the Eagle bench outscored Lincoln, 34-12.

Smith, who scored 13 of his game-high 19 points in the third quarter, made a half-court shot at the end of that period.

Hasani Acklin added 15 points and Andre Larry scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

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