Serra stuns Windward in 3 OTs

ANAHEIM -- The game pitting top-seeded Windward against Gardena Serra was started late because of a double-overtime game that was played beforehand.

Then the two teams, ranked in the state's top 20, topped it by playing three overtimes.

When it was over, Serra had shocked the No. 1 team in the state, scoring an 82-79 victory at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena to win the Southern Section Division 4AA championship.

According to the Southern Section Record Book, it was the second-highest scoring girls' game in history, surpassed only by Riverside Poly and Norte Vista, which scored 179 during the 1981-82 season.

Windward had a 79-75 lead when Deandrea Toler went coast-to-coast to cut Serra's deficit to two with 41 seconds remaining, and with 6.5 seconds left, sophomore Caila Hailey converted two free throws to tie the score at 77-79.

Windward had a chance to win it, and went to 6-foot-7 Imani Stafford, who drove to the basket and was whistled -- correctly, it appeared -- for a double-dribble with 2.3 seconds left.

Windward called a timeout it didn't have, thus was assessed a technical foul and Siera Thompson knocked both down for an 81-79 lead for Serra. with less than a second left, Hailey made the second of two for the final margin.

Serra was no slouch. The Cavaliers (27-3) were ranked No. 16 in the state.

Windward -- which scored victories this season over Mater Dei, Brea Olinda and Long Beach Poly -- dropped to 27-4.

Thompson led Serra with 22 points, and Rejane Verin scored 20. The Cavs won the game at the free-throw line by converting 21-of-31, compared to Windward's 13-of-29.

"The better team won tonight," said Steve Smith, the Windward coach. "They were tougher than us."

Jordin Canada led Windward wit 21 points, Kristen Simon scored 17, Macchiati Smith 14 and Courtney Jaco 12.