There is some debate over the final score of Harvard-Westlake High's Jan. 2 loss to Morningside in the Best of the West girls' basketball tournament at Ayala High.
The Wolverines say it was 54-49. Morningside has claimed a 54-45 victory.
One thing is certain: Harvard-Westlake would like nothing better than to even the score this afternoon when the teams meet at the Pyramid of Long Beach for the Southern Section Division III-A championship. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
"We're very happy to have the chance to play them again," said Wolverine Coach Brian Taylor, whose top-seeded team is making its first appearance in a final.
While Harvard-Westlake (25-5) may be breaking new ground, championship-game appearances are almost routine for the Monarchs (26-5).
Morningside is making its 10th appearance in a final and seeking its eighth title.
"We're very comfortable being there," said Coach Frank Scott, who led the Monarchs to four section titles from 1980-90. He is back at Morningside after coaching the past six seasons at USC.
Third-seeded Morningside upset second-seeded Santa Ynez, 43-41, in the semifinals, ending Santa Ynez's streak of nine consecutive appearances in the final.
Senior guard Corrie Roberts is averaging 21 points in the playoffs and sophomore guard Brooke Porter is averaging 12.7 after scoring a career-high 28 in the semifinals. Sophomore L'Tanya Robnett has scored 14.7 points in the playoffs, while junior forward Omelogo Udeze has contributed 12.7.
Harvard-Westlake led Morningside, 30-19, at halftime of its previous meeting in the Best of the West tournament.
Morningside forward Acheve Barre arrived at the gym at halftime, however, and scored 12 points in the final two quarters to spark the comeback.
"We have to figure out what to do defensively against her," Taylor said. "She absolutely destroyed us."
Barre, a junior, is hardly the Monarchs' only weapon. She averages 13.8 points and 7.3 rebounds for Morningside, which has four players averaging at least 9.5 points. Junior forward Kamesha Bell leads the team with 14.7 points and 10.8 rebounds. Senior guards Ericka Williams and Keisha Irvin add 9.8 and 9.5 points per game.
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Southern Section Girls' Basketball
* WHERE: At the Pyramid, Long Beach State
* DIRECTIONS: 405 South to Bellflower Blvd. South on Bellflower to Atherton St. East on Atherton. Pyramid is visible from street.
* TICKET INFORMATION: $8 general admission at Pyramid box office and presale for adults. $4 for students presale and children under 12. Parking is $3.
* WHO: Harvard-Westlake (25-5) vs. Morningside (26-5)
* WHEN: Today, 4:30 p.m.
* WHO TO WATCH: Morningside forward Kamesha Bell is averaging 14.7 points and 10.8 rebounds, and teammate Acheve Barre adds 13.8 points and 7.3 rebounds. Senior guard Corrie Roberts is Harvard-Westlake's all-time scoring leader, but the Wolverines have also received double-digit averages from forward Omelogo Udeze and guards Brooke Porter and L'Tanya Robnett. Porter scored a career-high 28 points in a 75-64 semifinal victory over Nordhoff.
* FAST FACT: Morningside has won seven section titles, most recently in 1996. Harvard-Westlake has never before played in a girls championship game.