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SIXTH TITLE IS SWEET FOR PRICE69-51 win over Albany St. Maryâ€™s in Div. IV final ends â€œwonderful seasonâ€
BAKERSFIELD â€“ Before the season started, Price head coach Michael Lynch challenged his seniors on what they wanted this year. The usual goals came up â€“ CIF title, state title â€“ but center Richard Solomon wanted an undefeated season.
They didnâ€™t accomplish that goal, but with Solomon and Gatorade State Player of the Year Allen Crabbe leading the way, Price won their sixth CIF state title on Friday, defeating Albany St. Maryâ€™s 69-51 in the CIF Division IV final at Rabobank Arena.
â€œAll year long, these guys have stepped up to the plate,â€ Lynch said of his group. â€œTheyâ€™ve been the definition of a team.â€
Solomon set the tone with 13 first half points â€“ 22 overall â€“ and Crabbe brought it home with 18 second half points en route to a 25-point, 10-rebound day.
Priceâ€™s (34-3) length made it tough for St. Maryâ€™s to get any easy shots in the paint. Solomon and 6-7 sophomore Skylar Spencer combined for five of the Knightâ€™s eight blocks â€“ more than St. Maryâ€™s had as a team (four).
â€œI told Skylar, they get nothing,â€ Solomon said of the teamâ€™s defensive plan.
After a narrow 12-11 lead in the first quarter, Price opened the game up in the second, taking a 30-21 lead at halftime and never looking back. They looked determined to finish the mission they had from
It was extra motivation for Solomon, who lost in the last yearâ€™s Division IV final with Torrance Bishop Montgomery. He scored Priceâ€™s first two baskets and with no St. Maryâ€™s player taller than 6-4, he had his way in the post, making nine of 11 attempts.
The Knightsâ€™ previous five titles came at the Division V level from 2000-2003 and 2005. This season was probably the most rewarding with the difficult, freelance schedule the Knights played with.
They defeated the likes of Crenshaw, Windward, Inglewood, Corona Centennial and Orange Lutheran. Two of their three losses were to state finalists Newark Memorial and Gardena Serra.
â€œWeâ€™ve seen a little bit of everything,â€ Lynch said. â€œIt strengthened us.â€
The state title was a sweet end to Crabbeâ€™s career â€“ capping a season where he went from one of the top players in the state to arguably the best. It was even more fulfilling because he was a team ball boy when he was younger and his grandfather, Apostle Frederick K.C. Price, is the schoolâ€™s founder
â€œWe proved ourselves this year,â€ Crabbe said.Â â€œItâ€™s been a great season and itâ€™s wonderful to end it this way.â€
Price also ends the season with their highest ranking ever in the Cal-Hi Sports State Top 20 Poll at No. 6. Their six titles tie them with Compton Dominguez and trail only Santa Ana Mater Dei (7) and Crenshaw (8) among boysâ€™ programs in state history.