Wilkes Brings Loyola Bouncing Back

From Staff Reports

Omar Wilkes might one day look back at his one-handed flip-in with his back to the basket and remember it as the play that sparked Los Angeles Loyola to its second consecutive Southern Section boys’ basketball title.

The senior guard would be partially correct.

For the record:

12:00 a.m. March 14, 2003 For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday March 14, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 40 words Type of Material: Correction
High school basketball -- Vince Oliver of Loyola High was incorrectly identified as teammate Josh Flynn Brown in a Sports photo caption Sunday. In addition, the score of the game was incorrectly reported. Loyola defeated Canyon Springs, 70-62, not 70-82.

His flashy move early in the fourth quarter opened a 13-0 run that gave top-seeded Loyola the lead and an eventual 70-62 come-from-behind victory over third-seeded Moreno Valley Canyon Springs in the Division I-A final on Saturday at Arrowhead Pond.

But Canyon Springs was also responsible for its demise. The Cougars (26-5) made five of 22 shots -- none of their 12 three-pointers -- in the fourth quarter in losing a three-point lead and a chance to win their first section title.


“They went cold and we came down and got a basket each time,” Loyola Coach Jim Williamson said. “Slowly but surely we built up the lead.”

Forward Chris Rucker had 21 points, seven rebounds and seven blocked shots for the Cubs (26-4), who won despite taking 32 fewer shots than Canyon Springs. The Kansas-bound Wilkes added 19 points and Davis Cantor had 17.

Loyola limited Canyon Springs stars Andre McGee and Richard Cobbs to a combined six-of-38 shooting. Tron Smith scored 19 points, Carlton Arnwine added 15 and Brandon Woods had 14 for the Cougars, who were making their first appearance in a championship game.

Canyon Springs’ shooting woes kept it from capitalizing on 27 offensive rebounds.

-- Ben Bolch

Rialto Eisenhower 75, Victorville Silverado 71 -- Sean Marshall scored 24 points and Eisenhower won the Division I-AA championship, its first boys’ basketball title.

Silverado trailed, 55-44, entering the fourth quarter and closed to within 67-64, thanks primarily to its full-court pressure, but the Hawks could get no closer in the final two minutes.

Jarel Perry scored 15 points for top-seeded Eisenhower (24-7), which lost to Long Beach Poly in last year’s Division I-AA final.


Vince Alvarado scored 28 points for second-seeded Silverado (29-2).

-- Mike Bresnahan

Santa Ana Mater Dei 78, Lakewood Mayfair 59 -- The top-seeded Monarchs built a 23-point halftime advantage and held off several second-half rallies in the Division II-A final to win their fifth consecutive section title.

Mater Dei (31-2) took a 26-12 lead at the end of the first quarter after shooting 71.4% from the field and scoring 15 points off eight Mayfair turnovers.


After settling down, second-seeded Mayfair (22-8) trimmed its deficit to 11 points on three occasions in the second half.

Wesley Washington scored 27 points, making all 18 free-throws attempts, and Marcel Jones added 17 points for Mater Dei, which won its 17th section title in 21 years under Coach Gary McKnight.

Justin Hawkins scored 20 points and Chris Childress had 15 for Mayfair, which shot 14 free throws to Mater Dei’s 32.

-- Ben Bolch


Lakewood Artesia 64, Santa Margarita 50 -- Artesia forced 22 turnovers, committed only six and won the Division III-AA championship, the Pioneers’ first title since the scandal-plagued days that ended former Coach Wayne Merino’s tenure in 2000.

Kejuan Johnson scored 19 points and Jibri Taylor added 16 on seven-of-eight shooting for top-seeded Artesia (28-2), which outscored Santa Margarita, 21-7, in the fourth quarter.

“There was so much talk ... Artesia would never be back on top and the program was dead,” said Coach Scott Pera, in his third season. “This is very, very gratifying on a lot of levels.”

Shawn Grady scored 14 points for second-seeded Santa Margarita (20-10).


-- Mike Bresnahan

North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake 74, Compton Centennial 72 -- Bryce Taylor’s layup with four seconds left in overtime gave the Wolverines (26-6) the Division III-A championship.

Centennial (18-10) was on the verge of pulling off an upset after Arron Afflalo’s two free throws with five seconds left in regulation put the Apaches on top, 66-65. But Afflalo, who finished with 25 points, fouled Zachary Woolridge with less than a second left, and Woolridge made the second free throw to send the game into overtime.

Taylor had 24 points and Evan Harris scored 15 points and had 10 rebounds for the Wolverines, who won their fifth section title in Coach Greg Hilliard’s 18 seasons.


Christopher Berry scored 18 points and Jervaughn Johnson had 13 points for Centennial, which lost for the fourth consecutive year in the section final.

-- Eric Sondheimer