RIVALS NOW, FRIENDS FOREVER: Dashawn Gomez, left and Justin Cobbs faced off in one of the year’s
best games, the Division !V-AA semifinal between Inglewood and Bishop Montgomery.
Cobbs scored 47 but Gomez, who scored 34, led the Sentinels to a 97-93 victory.Â
All Sentinel Team (Boys)
Player of the Year – Dominique O’Connor (Westchester): At 5-10, O’Connor epitomized everything the City and Division I State champions represented. He set the tone on offense with his patience and good decision-making and on defense with quick hands and good on-ball defense.
O’Connor made a name for himself last season when the Comets defeated Fairfax at Loyola Marymount and led all scorers with 26 points. It served as a springboard for last season’s playoffs and this year when he captained the Comets to the most wins ever by a City team.
He’ll be a steal for the college he picks in the coming days and is a well-deserved All-State first team pick.
Coach of the Year – Derrick Taylor (Taft): While we salute Westchester coach Ed Azzam for arguably his finest coaching job, this award goes to someone who also did a fine job in a year that his team was supposed to be rebuilding.
Taylor not only got his Toreadors (27-5) to the City finals after a masterful effort against Fairfax in the semifinals, they hung tough with Westchester in the finals and also advanced to the state regionals for the second consecutive year.
Along with Leuzinger coach Reggie Morris, Jr. and Loyola coach Jamal Adams, Taylor is the leader of the new crop of young, successful Black coaches in basketball who have made an impact at their programs and will do so in the next decade.
Here’s the Rest of the best named in Alphabetical Order
Reynaul Baker (Crenshaw, Jr.): A dynamite slasher, Baker averaged 17.6 points for the well-balanced Cougars and earned a well-deserved slot on the All-City first team. Along with Deuce Zaid and Geoffrey Allen, he’ll be part of a strong senior class to watch out for.
Gaellan Bewernick (Manual Arts, Sr.): It’s been a while since we’ve heard a great player come from Manual and Bewernick was a force you couldn’t ignore. He averaged 25.5 points and 17.2 rebounds for the Toilers and was a second-team All-City selection.
James Boyd (LA Jordan, Sr.): The Sentinel Football Player of the Year took his game to the hardwood and continued to dominate with 23.8 points and a nation-leading 22.4 rebounds. He’s signed with USC to play defensive end but don’t be surprised if the All-City first teamer suits up for Tim Floyd in the offseason.
Justin Cobbs (Bishop Montgomery, Sr.): Although his team lost in the Division IV state final, Cobbs did everything to get them there. The state Division IV Player of the Year averaged 20.4 points, 4.5 assists and 4.8 rebounds and will suit up for Tubby Smith at Minnesota next fall.
Tony Freeland (Fremont, Sr.): Just like former teammate LaRon Armstead (now at LMU), Freeland carried the Pathfinders into another strong season with 21.1 points and 11.4 rebounds. The All-City first teamer suit up for DePaul next year.
Dashawn Gomez (Inglewood, Sr.): The All-CIF selection and four-year varsity player for coach Pat Roy averaged 18.1 points and 6.7 assists as he led the Sentinels to their first CIF divisional final since 2004.
Solomon Hill (Fairfax, Sr.): Arguably the most improved player in the City Section, Hill was a double-double threat even with Renardo Sidney roaming the paint. The All-City first teamer averaged 12.3 points and 10.9 rebounds and reports indicate he may sign back with Arizona, his original choice
Keala King (Dominguez, Jr.): It was difficult at Dominguez as they lost their head coach and best player before the season but King helped carry the torch in interim coach Duane Cooper’s first season. The All-CIF Division I-AA first teamer will be one of the top seniors in the region next year.
Jordin Mayes (Westchester, Jr.): One of the best shooters in Southern California, Mayes also impressed at times when he handled the ball. The All-City first team selection will be a big reason that Westchester is favored to repeat as City and State champs next year
Darius Morris (Windward, Sr.): Coach Miguel Villegas said that Morris helped put the program on the map and Morris returned the favor by helping the Wildcats win the program’s first boys state title. The state Division V Player of the Year averaged 18 points and will head to Michigan next year.
Renardo Sidney (Fairfax, Sr.): Although his two-year stint with the Lions ended without any titles, Sidney still had an outstanding All-City first team senior season as he averaged 23.4 points and 10.6 rebounds. The McDonald’s All-American and three-time All-State selection will suit up for USC next year.
Michael Williams (Taft, Sr.): Just like O’Connor, Williams proved to folks why he was one of the best players in the state as well as one of its best shooters. He scored 32 points in the City final against Westchester and averaged 18.7 points and 4.1 assists on the year. He’ll head to San Francisco in the fall.