The Artesia High boys' basketball team advanced to a state title game for the fourth time in six seasons.
The Pioneers, however, suffered their first defeat in the final during that span Saturday, losing to Walnut Creek of Northgate, 47-41, in the Division III championship at the Oakland Coliseum Arena.
The defeat also snapped a 20-game win streak for Artesia (29-4). It was the first time a Pioneer team without Ed or Charles O'Bannon had made it to the state championship.
The Pioneers won the 1990 Division II title with Ed O'Bannon as a senior and won titles in 1992 and 1993 with Charles O'Bannon.
"Everybody assumed it was a slam dunk for Artesia to win a state title with the O'Bannons," Artesia Coach Wayne Merino said. "But making it to the state championship for any team is really quite an accomplishment."
The Pioneers, who trailed by as many as eight points, were unable to overcome a 41-38 deficit with 29.2 seconds left against Walnut Creek (34-2). The Broncos made 17 of 19 free throws, including 10 in the final minute to secure the victory. Artesia shot only five free throws, making three.
Artesia's starting lineup was made up of three underclassmen, including juniors Dajuan Wilson and James Lee and freshman DeAndre Moore. Only seniors Kevin Daley, who had 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Jonathan Nelson will not be back.
Artesia squeezed its way into the final with a 55-54 victory over Harvard-Westlake in the Southern California regional championship and a 55-54 overtime win over University of San Diego in the regional semifinal.
"This team was one of our most athletic, there was no clear-cut superstar," Merino said. "We were a real young team and it all came down to teamwork. This team has improved tremendously since December, and there is still so much potential."
* Dominguez, making its first appearance in a state championship, lost to St. Francis of Mountain View, 73-65, in the Division II final Saturday.
Dominguez (32-3), led by freshman Jason Thomas' 18 points and senior James Brown's 14, should be able to make another run at the state title next season.
Brown and Tommy Prince (13 points) are the only senior starters for the Dons, who will return junior James Jones and sophomore Kenny Brunner. Brunner had nine assists against St. Francis, the fifth-highest total in a state final.
* Three days of preparation for the state Division IV final didn't help the Valley Christian girls. Neither did early foul trouble to senior forward Jodi Parriott in a 61-37 defeat to Moraga Campolindo Friday.
Valley Christian (24-4) jumped to an 11-4 advantage before the USC-bound Parriott left the game after picking up her third foul with three minutes left in the first quarter. When Parriott returned, Campolindo (32-3) had built a 29-15 lead en route to a 37-18 halftime advantage.
"They were good," Parriott said. "If they didn't beat us inside, they would beat us outside. They were unstoppable. We weren't focused and it was a total meltdown."
Parriott finished with 18 points and nine rebounds and sophomore Tandee Taylor added 15 points for Valley Christian.
Parriott scored 42 and Taylor had 30 in the Crusaders' 86-76 victory over Santa Ynez in the Southern California Regional final March 14 that gave Valley Christian its first berth in a state final since 1987.
The Santa Ynez game was originally scheduled for March 11 but was postponed because of closures on U.S. 101 after heavy rains and mudslides.
"We went beyond everybody's expectations this season," Parriott said. "Our goal was to make it Oakland and we outplayed everybody, but two days and a hour Friday was not enough time to prepare for a state championship."
Michael Granville broke the all-time national high school indoor 800-meter record, winning the event for the second year in a row at the National Scholastic championships March 12 in Syracuse, N.Y.
Five days later, the Bell Gardens High junior found himself competing on an outdoor dirt track in a nonleague dual meet at California High. But the drop in the level of competition or facility did not detract from Granville's efforts.
"It's a big change going from a big meet to these little meets, but I use them as workouts to keep my momentum going," Granville said.
Granville's time in Syracuse of 1 minute 50.55 seconds broke the 1981 record of 1:50.7 set by John Marshall of New Jersey, a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic team, and also eclipsed Granville's national indoor record for high school juniors of 1:50.80 set Feb. 18 at the Simplot Games in Pocatello, Ida. The previous junior national record had stood for 31 years before the assault of the 6-foot, 165-pound Granville this season.
The defending state 800-meter champion, Granville now has six national records. As a freshman, he set national class records for indoor 500 yards (1:00.01) and 800 meters (1:51.61) and a state record in the 400 meters (47.24). Last year, he set a national sophomore record in the 800 meters (1:48.98) and indoor 500 yards (57.7).
"There's still room to go a little faster," Granville said. "I've only run two races and I'm in pretty good shape. That's a factor for improvement."
Granville won the 200 in 22.1 and 400 in 48.0 to help Bell Gardens edge California, 67-66, on March 16. Teammate Jesse Orozco won the long jump (19-feet-2) and triple jump (35-2) and joined Ada Duarte, Vincent Lugo and Charles King on the Lancers' winning 400-meter relay team.
Granville will run in the 100, 200, 400 and 800 meters today against Montebello in an Almont League meet as the Lancers begin their quest for a fifth league title in six seasons.
In the girls' competition, Kristina Paulo of Bell Gardens won the 100 (13.7), 100 hurdles (19.3) and 300 hurdles (53.8) and anchored the Lancers' 400 relay to help the Lancers to a 92-30 victory against California.
Paulo led 1-2-3 finishes for Bell Gardens (1-1) in the 100 and 300 hurdles. Elsa Arrellano, Sandra Paulo and Jackie Medrano were winners in Bell Gardens' sweeps in the 3,200 (13:56), discus (105-9) and 800 (2:51).
* LaKeisha Backus of Long Beach Wilson and Aminah Haddad and Pam Simpson of Long Beach Poly were also winners in Syracuse.
Backus won the 60 meters in 7.42 seconds to move into a tie with Caryl Smith of Colorado as the No. 2 high school runner of all time. Only Zundra Feagin of Florida, who ran 7.30 in 1991, has run faster.
Haddad won the 200 meters in 24.66 and Simpson leaped 19-9 1/2 to win the long jump. Haddad and Simpson, as well as Andrea Anderson, who was fourth in the 60 meters in 7.51, teamed on Poly's victorious 800-meter relay, which timed 1:39.51, and the Jackrabbits' runner-up sprint medley relay team (4:00.86).
Senior midfielder Jorge Tamayo, who helped the Long Beach Jordan soccer team reach a Southern Section championship match for the first time, has been selected as the Division II defensive player of the year.
Jordan goalkeeper Rafael Pasillas, midfielder Hernan Acosta of Bell Gardens, defenders Patrick Choatc of St. John Bosco, Jose Soto of Lakewood and forward Mario Hernandez of Gahr were chosen to the first team.
Juan Arevalo of Lynwood, Halmar Carranza of Jordan, Matthew Montoya of Millikan and Jeff Schofield of Lakewood were second-team selections. Eddie Gallardo of Compton, Javier Gomez of Schurr, Cesar Reynoso of Bell Gardens and Ricardo Nieto of Millikan were named to the third team.
In Division III, La Serna's Eric Krause and Leo Garcia were first- and third-team selections.
Eric Martinez of La Mirada and Robert Melendez of Mayfair were named to the Division IV second and third teams. Ryan Napier of St. Anthony was chosen to the Division V second team.
* Three players from the Long Beach Poly girls' Southern Section champion soccer team were named to the Division II team.
Midfielder Christy Slavin was named to the first team. Kristin Ward and Johanna Wise were chosen to the second and third teams.
La Serna and Mayfair placed three players each on the Division III team.
Midfielder Kelly Kaitanjian and forward Colby Morgan of La Serna were first-team selections and Tiffany Sanders was chosen to the second team.
Forward Dolores Browning of Mayfair was named to the first team. Teammates Karen May and Antonette Marjanovic were second and third-team selections. Melody Peterson of Gahr was chosen to the second team.