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March 27, 2010After his team's impressive performance in the Division IV championship game, Price coach Mike Lynch burst with pride.
"They are the definition of a team," he said. "And they love each other."
It took a team effort for sure, but in the end No. 85 Los Angeles (Calif.) Price proved to be too much, rolling over Albany (Calif.) St. Mary's, 69-51 on Friday at the Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield, to win its sixth title in seven attempts.
After a back-and-forth first quarter played at a blistering pace, St. Mary's (26-10) led 12-11 at the end of the period.
It was the last time St. Mary's would lead in the game.
The Knights (34-3) went on an 18-10 run in the second quarter and surged ahead 30-21 at the break, led by California recruit Richard Solomon, who finished the game with 13 points. Solomon could not be contained inside, as Price was effective both in transition and in the half-court offense.
Despite Solomon picking up his fourth foul with 2:59 left in the third quarter, Price maintained its edge. Fellow California recruit Allen Crabbe stepped up, shooting from the perimeter and driving to the basket aggressively. Because of his efforts, Price led 49-34 at the end of the third.
Crabbe finished the game with 25 points - 18 of which came in the second half.
"It feels great," Crabbe said. "We finally did it. We pushed each other this year. That is why we were successful."
While Price excelled on offense, St. Mary's struggled, going just 15-of-45 from the floor for 33-percent.
Utah-bound Dominque Lee was just 3-of-7 for eight points after suffering an ankle injury in the first few moments of the game.
"It was uphill from there," St. Mary's coach Manny Nodar said.
Despite the loss, Nodar said he too was proud of his team.
"In my 18 years as a coach, this is my most satisfying season," Nodar said. "They bought into what St. Mary's is all about."
Lynch said afterwards that defensively his goal was to force St. Mary's to shoot from the perimeter, which isn't one of the team's strengths.
"That plan kinda worked," Lynch said.
It worked enough to make his team champions.
"I give a lot of credit to the schedule," Lynch said. "We did not play any patsies. We've seen a little bit of everything."
Price: Allen Crabbe 25, Richard Solomon 22, Skylar Spencer 10, Casey Trujeque 7, Jamie Trujeque 4, Kenny Greene 1
St. Mary's: Justin Pollard 18, Glenn Baral 13, Dominique Lee 8, Demetrius Lee 6, Isiah Taylor 6