The 85-80 win over the Westchester Comets boys basketball team was a milestone for the Birmingham Patriots. For the first time in the school’s history, their boys basketball time won the City Section championship.
“There’s a lot of city championships in Birmingham’s history,” said head coach Nicholas Halic. “None of them were boys basketball before this.”
Senior Devante Doutrive scored 26 points, eight rebounds, and four assists; junior Devonaire Doutrive made 24 points and eight rebounds. Devante described the game as “competitive,” “physical,” and “strong.”
“I didn’t want to play nobody weak for the championship,” said Devante. “Coming out to beat Westchester after they won it last year…it was great.”
The comets and patriots met before in November during the Pac Shores basketball tournament, where Birmingham won 84-74.
“It was very similar to the last game where they punched us in the mouth and we came back,” Halic said about the title match.
Birmingham had a 27-4 overall record; no other team in the West Valley League could defeat them. The squad was ranked 8th in the state and 29th in the nation, according to MaxPreps.
“It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of dedication,” said Birmingham sophomore Tyjae Medley. “We stay in the gym every day and we work hard for this.”
Westchester, however was ranked 21st in the state, coming in second to Fairfax in the Western League.
Up to the City Section championship, the patriots had not seen a loss since their matchup with the Mater Dei monarchs 67-74 on December 27. Devante contributed a team high of 27 points and nine rebounds that night.
The only team that could stop the patriots was the top ranked Chino Hills Huskies, Birmingham’s first opponent in the CIF regional tournament. In a high-scoring game, the huskies edged out the patriots 130-110.
Although their run for state ended, the Birmingham Patriots had a monumental season, players believed in the talent of their teammates throughout the challenges the City Section title game brought.
“It’s the first time we ever won city, especially open division,” said Devonaire. “It means a lot to everybody: our fans, our family, us, our coaches, [and] staff.”