There was hype, there was anticipation, there was excitement. It's not every day that two high school guards the caliber of Oregon-bound Tyler Dorsey and UCLA-bound Aaron Holiday face off in a CIF championship basketball game.
Each lived up to expectations Friday night. Dorsey delivered 25 points for Pasadena Maranatha. Holiday came through with 25 points for North Hollywood Campbell Hall as his brother, New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday, watched from the bleachers at Azusa Pacific.
In the end, though, it was Maranatha's role players coming through in a 59-53 victory to give the Minutemen their first basketball title in the Southern Section Division 4A championship game.
Sean Romero made the biggest shot of the night, a three-pointer from the top of the key with 40 seconds remaining to push Maranatha's lead to four points and force Campbell Hall to play from behind the rest of the way.
"There was no hesitation," said Romero, a junior guard who is the stepson of Maranatha Coach Tim Tucker. "We're a team. Everyone had their roles. We all had faith in each other, and we all had each other's back."
There was Tey Williams making four consecutive free throws in the final 32 seconds to prevent any Vikings comeback. Williams and Romero each finished with 12 points. And finally, there was 6-foot-10 junior Trevor Stanback playing like the Trevor Stanback of old.
Stanback didn't play in his first game this season until the first playoff game because of a medical issue, but in his fifth game back, he contributed eight points, 13 rebounds and five blocks. His presence in the middle was a major factor in Maranatha's (20-8) victory.
"I'm finally back," Stanback said.
Tucker spent 18 years at Pasadena High before coming to Maranatha last season. Getting Dorsey, a transfer from St. John Bosco, and Stanback, a transfer from West Hills Chaminade, finally together elevated the Minutemen to another level. Now they'll focus on trying to win a state title.
Crespi's free throws
Coaches always seek perfection, and Crespi Coach Russell White couldn't have been more satisfied after his team made all 19 of its free throws in winning the 4AA championship with a 61-52 win over San Luis Obispo Mission College Prep.
"All those hours of practice," White said.
Mitch Mykhaylov scored 14 points, freshman Brandon Williams had 13, and De'Anthony Melton added 12 points and nine rebounds for the Celts (24-7), who have played four freshmen and are loaded with underclassmen.
"We tried to get better every day," White said.
Mission Prep's Quinton Adlesh, headed for Columbia, scored 25 points. Mission Prep fell behind by 18 points in the third quarter but rallied to within two points with two minutes left.
Then the Celts kept making free throw after free throw.
"We put a lot of pride in our free throws," Melton said.
Beverly Hills wins
Denzel Holt made eight consecutive free throws in the final 1:19 to lift Beverly Hills past Corona del Mar, 55-47, in the Division 3A championship game.