Los Angeles Preps: Brittany Wilson

Pete Fox of 710 ESPN and Mark LeCair of ESPN Bakersfield spent all day Saturday taking in the second day of the CIF State Basketball championships at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield. Southern California teams won three of the six titles decided that day, including the inspirational story of Gardena Serra, which won a title in memory of Stephen Autry, who died before the playoffs and before he could see his son Vaughn and the Cavaliers make their run. Here are interviews with Autry, other Serra teammates and coach Dwan Hurt.

In Division I, the Long Beach Poly girls' team fell short in its quest for five consecutive state titles and senior Brittany Wilson tries to explain, while player of the game Kareem Jamar for the Westchester boys discusses his team's achievement of back-to-back state titles.

LA South: Shots don't fall
but Poly does in run at history

March, 27, 2010
BAKERSFIELD – Four consecutive years, Long Beach Poly has won a state championship game. But four consecutive years, the Jackrabbits never faced anything like Sara James.

Almost single-handedly – she scored 20 of her team's 29 first-half points – James denied Poly its run at history. El Dorado Hills Oak Ridge scored a stunning 55-42 victory to win the Division I title at Rabobank Arena.

The Jackrabbits were trying to become the first team in state history to win five consecutive titles, and they held a 13-7 lead. But from that point on, it was all Oak Ridge.

Only two teams had beaten Poly (31-3) this season, Mater Dei and Brea Olinda, which have spent the season among the top four ranked teams in the nation. Poly went into the game ranked No. 5 by ESPN Rise. Oak Ridge (32-3) had a victory over Brea early in the season.

“We didn't have a good game,” Poly coach Carl Buggs said. “We didn't shoot the ball very well. We just had a bad game today. We missed some shots we normally make, we hesitated a little bit and when you hesitate it throws you off your rhythm.”

Poly had four players trying to win fourth consecutive state titles, sisters Brittany Wilson (seven points) and injured Ashley Wilson, who will continue their careers at Colorado, injured Thaddesia Southall (USC) and Jazzmine Shirley.

Sheila Boykin, Poly's outstanding junior, was only two for 10 from the field and finished with four points. “We were somewhat intense, but we were not Poly intense,” Boykin said. “We came out really good. . . . Later on, there were more aspects that stopped us, not getting defense rebounds, not boxing out, letting them go backdoor, not making shots.”

Poly shot only 29 percent from the field, making 14 of 48. They committed 19 turnovers while forcing 20.

Tajanae Winston scored 13 and Ta'nitra Byrd scored nine for the Jackrabbits. They were a combined eight of 12; the rest of the team was six of 36.

Meanwhile, Oak Ridge made 15 of 30 for the game, including five three-pointers.

Oak Ridge led at halftime, 29-23, behind James' 20 points. She scored only four in the third quarter, but her two free throws with two seconds left made it 38-34.

With four fouls, she left the game with 6:41 remaining, and Poly tied the score at 40-40 on Boykin's turnaround jumper with 5:08 left.

It was Poly's last field goal, and the Jackrabbits – who own most fourth quarters – wouldn't score again for another 4:13.

Natalie Stone made a pair of free throws, and Dakota McLarnan made the biggest shot of the night, a three-pointer with 3:38. It was McLarnan's fourth, setting a championship game record. With a 45-40 lead, the Trojans called timeout and put James back in the game.

Less than a minute later, Carly Bettancourt threw up an improbable shot over her shoulder for a layup that made it 47-40 lead with 2:52 left. Game over.

“We had a great run, won four in a row, and we would have liked to have made history,” Buggs said. “It didn't happen.”

LONG BEACH -- The way the Long Beach Poly girls' basketball team has been playing of late may give the Jackrabbits legitimate claim to the No. 1 national ranking.

Never mind they are No. 6 now in the ESPN Rise Fab 50 and that two of the teams above them -- Mater Dei and Brea Olinda -- defeated the Jackrabbits this season.

Poly, the four-time defending Division I state champion, cruised to an 83-50 victory over Bakersfield Stockdale in a second-round game of the state playoffs Thursday night in a game that was so lopsided the officials used a running click for much of the fourth quarter.

It was the sixth time in seven playoff games that Poly (30-2) has won by 20 points or more and was the 18th double-digit victory in 20 games since the calendar turned to 2010.

"I thought today was the best all-around game we have played all season," Poly Coach Carl Buggs said. "We keep improving every game and that's a coach's dream."

It didn't take long to put away Stockdale (28-5). The Jackrabbits raced to a 22-2 lead before the Mustangs scored their first field goal. Brittany Wilson scored 11 of her 18 points in the first quarter, including three three-pointers during the first four minutes.

Poly, which played its starters for only about 10 minutes each, extended the lead to 81-38 with six minutes left, when officials went to a running clock.

"You don't expect that at this point in the season," Buggs said. "That is a good team, we just played a fantastic game.

Poly made 10 of its first 11 shots from the field and shot 57.3 percent for the game. During the first four minutes of the first half and the first four minutes of the second half -- when the Poly starters were on the floor -- the Jackrabbits made an astounding 17 of 24 (70.8 percent) of their field-goal attempts. They made five of seven three-point attempts.

"When we're hitting our outside shots, we're tough," Buggs said. "The way we played tonight it would have been difficult for anyone to beat us."

That includes, presumably, Mater Dei and Brea Olinda. Poly lost to those teams in consecutive games of the Nike Tournament of Champions in December. The four-point loss to Mater Dei and two-point loss to Brea Olinda are the only blemishes on Poly's record.

"I would love another shot at them the way were are playing now," said Sheila Boykin, who scored 15 points in limited action. "I think the way we're playing now, we'd have some of the mistakes we made in those games cleaned up."

Unfortunately for the Jackrabbits, they won't get that opportunity. Mater Dei and Brea Olinda are in Division II, so Poly will have to be content with a possible fifth consecutive Division I title.

"That'd be just fine with me," Buggs said.

LA South: L.B. Poly races to fast start

March, 11, 2010
LONG BEACH -- Top-seeded Long Beach Poly took advantage of a road-weary Bakersfield Stockdale and built a 52-25 halftime lead in the second round of the girls Division I state tournament Thursday night at Poly.

Senior guard Brittany Wilson had 11 of her 13 first-half points during a 22-2 Poly run to start the game. Wilson had three three-pointers in that stretch.

Stockdale, which likes to play up-tempo, clearly was fatigued after making the trek to South Los Angeles County twice in three days. The Mustangs defeated Carson in the first round but made only seven of 30 shots in the first half against Poly.