First Title for Oaks Christian

From Staff Reports

Westlake Village Oaks Christian began planning for a Southern Section boys' basketball title three years ago, long before the school even had a gymnasium floor.

The Lions reached their goal Friday night with a 70-67 victory over Santa Monica Crossroads in double overtime to claim the Division IV-AA title at Loyola Marymount in just their second varsity season.

Oaks Christian didn't seal the victory until Nick Wong's three-point attempt missed at the end of the second overtime. Chase Bryan made a key steal on an inbounds pass with 20 seconds remaining in the game and then twice made one of two free throws in the closing seconds for the Lions.

Crossroads rallied from a seven-point deficit with 3:23 remaining in regulation, took the lead, 57-56, on a three-point play by Robert Locke with 1:14 remaining and tied the score, 59-59, on a driving layup by Locke with three seconds left. Locke scored 15 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter.

Crossroads hurt itself in the first overtime by missing all three of its free throws, including the front end of a one-and-one opportunity with 50 seconds remaining that would have put the Roadrunners ahead by one.

Junior Mike Hornbuckle, who made six three-point shots and scored 39 points in the Lions' semifinal victory over Santa Maria St. Joseph, finished with 16 points. His freshman brother, Matt, had 14 points.

Aaron Cline scored 19 points, including 11 in the third quarter, when Crossroads began cutting into the Lions' seven-point lead.

-- Dan Arritt

Los Angeles Verbum Dei 81, North Hollywood Campbell Hall 55 -- The top-seeded Eagles won their second consecutive section title by capitalizing on their superior size in the Division IV-A title game.

Sophomore center Amir Johnson scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and freshman forward Matt Shaw added nine points for Verbum Dei (23-6). Johnson dunked on alley-oop passes from guard Mike Davis to open the first and fourth quarters.

"They could not stop us," said the 6-foot-8 Johnson, guarded by defenders no taller than 6-4. "We destroyed them inside."

Davis had 13 points and 13 assists and guard Mike Pagan added 14 points for the Eagles, who sprinted to a 26-7 lead early in the second quarter.

Darryl Harris scored 15 points and Joe Ford had 14 for second-seeded Campbell Hall (25-3), which completed a remarkable turnaround from last season's 10-15 record. The Vikings shot only 28.6% from the field, 15.4% from three-point range.

-- Ben Bolch

Palos Verdes Estates Rolling Hills Prep 61, Apple Valley Christian 41 -- Curtis Allen had 24 points, 15 rebounds and four blocked shots for the top-seeded Huskies, who put away Apple Valley Christian by scoring 18 of the final 23 points in the third quarter of the Division V-AA final.

Allen, a 6-4 junior forward who has committed to USC, scored 10 points in the opening quarter to help Rolling Hills Prep to a 16-7 lead. The Huskies (21-8) went up by as many as 11 points in the second quarter, but second-seeded Apple Valley Christian closed to within 26-20 early in the second half. Allen then went baseline for a dunk that began the deciding run and lifted Rolling Hills Prep to its second consecutive section title.

Tim Langel scored 12 points and Kevin Dillon had 10 to lead Apple Valley Christian (23-3). Dillon and Marcus Miller, the Warriors' leading scorers this season, were limited to a combined 14 points on six-for-25 shooting.

-- Dan Arritt

Los Angeles Price 80, Palm Springs Desert Chapel 50 -- The top-seeded Knights won their fifth consecutive section title and found a star for the future in sophomore forward Marcus Palmer, who scored a career-high 20 points in the Division V-A title game.

Senior guard Billy Grayson made four three-pointers in adding 18 points for Price (29-2), which scored 25 points off 18 Desert Chapel turnovers. The Knights led by 23 points at halftime.

Junior guard Shane Nicolas had 14 points for Desert Chapel (19-10), which made its first title appearance in its second season of varsity play.

Price again played without senior guard Derrick Williams, who suffered a knee injury in the last game of the regular season. Knight Coach Michael Lynch said he expected Williams to return during the state playoffs.

-- Ben Bolch

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