Serra boys defeat Long Beach Poly for Division II state title

SACRAMENTO — When Serra coach Chuck Rapp was asked about winning the school’s first state title in any sport with a tenacious 48-43 Division II triumph over Long Beach Poly on Saturday at Sleep Train Arena, he didn’t hesitate. “It’s like climbing Mount Everest,” he said drawing immediate giant laughter from his team in the arena’s media room. Scrapping its often reliable three-point shooting, Serra (26-5) went to the basket and forced fouls. Even more important, it did a number on defensive rebounds, led by West Catholic Athletic League Player of the Year Jake Killingsworth. The 6-foot-5 senior who’s Columbia-bound scored 15 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to complement a terrific floor game from Lee Jones (13 points) as Serra overcame an early deficit to defeat the cold-shooting Jackrabbits (24-11). Poly got as close as 33-30 early in the fourth quarter, but again Serra had an answer with an 8-3 run, starting with a pretty reverse layup by Killingsworth and ending with a driving layup by Jeremiah Testa. Testa, the team’s second-leading scorer, had an otherwise rough outing, going 2-for-12 from the floor and scoring eight points. More important, Poly grabbed only seven offensive boards and Killingsworth had 12 defensive rebounds. Poly coach Shelton Diggs praised the play of the Padres and coaching of Rapp, but questioned the free-throw discrepancy. “I’ve never heard of three free-throw attempts in a championship game,” Diggs said. The Spartans (31-3) got stellar performances from USF-bound Jordan Ratinho (16 points) and Emeka Udenyi (11 points, 11 rebounds), but the Huskies finished a 35-0 season without a brilliant game from their leader, Lonzo Ball. The 6-foot-6 senior point guard and Naismith National Player of the Year had just 15 points — six coming on dunks in the final two minutes — and five assists.

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