The high school basketball season will reach a tipping point this week when game in the Southern Section and the Los Angeles City Section will determine more than who plays for a divisional championship.
Last week the Southern Section unveiled its historical Open Division for boys and girls considered among the elite teams in the section, but in the City it was business as usual.
Defending and perennial City champion Westchester earned yet another No. 1 seed and this week will likely be playing in the semifinals on Saturday March 1 at LA Southwest College against either Fremont or Narbonne.
The Comets won their opening round game 75-13 to improve to 26-5 and have already defeated Long Beach Poly (twice) and Southern Section Open entrants St. John Bosco and Serra (Gardena).
Coach Ed Azzam, whose coaching tree also consists of Redondo Union’s rising star Reggie Morris Jr., has a team of unselfish players led by City Player of the Year candidate Elijah Stewart.
A gritty outfit that just simply players harder for longer minutes than their opponents, the Comets will undoubtedly be involved in the Southern California Regional Open Division when the finals are done.
Unlike a lot of teams who felt they were unjustifiably placed in the Open Division, the Comets relish the opportunity to play against the best competition.
Although, the Comets lost in the early portion of the season to Redondo Union 65-64 and to Bishop Montgomery 71-68, the team has won 14 of it last 15 games and seven in a row.
The consistently do it with the likes of solid seniors Cameron Young and emerging point guard Layon Gooden. Serra junior transfer Ellis Sallahudin has been a key contributor late, making the Comets capable of beating anyone.
Steward will be attending Loyola, but senior standout Nick Hamilton is a scholar athlete worthy of offers from Ivy League Schools and maintains a grade point average that is off the charts above 4.0.
Westchester is likely to meet either Fairfax or El Camino Real in the City Finals on March 8 at LA Southwest College, it’s a ritual they don’t take for granted.
Their immediate goals for each season is always win league and then a City title, but after that they will dare to aim even higher.
That figures to be in the Open division regionals that will likely feature Mater Dei, Redondo Union, Loyola and Corona Centennial. Anything less will be uncivilized.
BLACK EYE FOR COMPTON
Last week during Compton/Redondo Union Open Division playoff game, the smallest player on the court Elijah Nesbit was unjustly shoved in the back during the final minutes of a game that was won by Redondo.
The referees issued single technical fouls to players from Compton and Redondo, and Compton retained the ball as a result of a possession arrow.
The incident was a sore eye to what should have been a great basketball game. Compton players should have been ejected for the shove and not allowed to play in their next game.
The shove of Nesbit was not just a foul, but a felony if it occurred in Watts or Compton.
Compton coaches cursed officials and players used profanity against Redondo players. It was awful.
It was also another clear indication of how Blacks sometimes are their own worse enemy. It would not have been a good look no matter what color you are, but critics expect that from Compton. The only way to change your image is to CHANGE!