Playoff basketball is supposed to be intense, dramatic and a place where two teams leave it all on the floor. Such was the case between L.A. Jordan and Crenshaw in the first round of the City Section playoffs Thursday.
Crenshaw used a late fourth-quarter run to pull out the 79-76 victory in front of a capacity crowd at Crenshaw High School. It was a physical game defined by defense as both teams forced their share of turnovers.
Trailing 53-52 in the third quarter, the Cougars went on a 17-4 run to grab their first real advantage and held off a furious late charge by Jordan to escape with the win.
Deuce Zaid led the way with 18 points but it was the play of junior transfer Ernest Duvall that carried the team in final quarter. In his first game after missing the regular season due to academic ineligibility, Duvall scored 11 points – 10 in the fourth quarter despite playing with four fouls.
“He was the key tonight,” Crenshaw coach Ed Waters said, “He’s a hard guy to defend.”
Duvall came into the game knowing what he had to do based on what he observed when the teams met in December
“Bring energy and help out on the boards,” he said. Scoring a little bit didn’t hurt either.
James Boyd led Jordan with 23 points and 21 rebounds and Davian Wilson chipped in with 21 points for the Bulldogs, who missed two three-pointers in the final seconds.
Stopping Boyd – one of the nation’s leading rebounders – was a priority coming in and although he performed close to his average (23.7 points and 22.8 rebounds), the team made him work for it.
“We threw five different guys at him,” Waters said of the game plan, “He got his numbers, but we were still able to eke it out.”
It’s the third consecutive victory for Crenshaw against Jordan since the Bulldogs defeated them in the first round of the 2005 playoffs. The rivalry – which goes back four decades to when the Cougars defeated Jordan to win the 1971 City Championship – brought out an intense crowd that traded barbs throughout the night.
As his team travels to face defending champion Taft on Tuesday, Waters said that he sees a lot of similarities between them and Jordan. A big body in the middle (Terran Carter), a great shooter (Michael Williams) as well as defensive stopper Justin Hawkins.
“We relish the chance to play them,” Waters said.
City Section Playoff Scores (1st Round)
Westchester 80, Carson 35
Fremont 61, Palisades 49
Sylmar 72, Birmingham 64
Taft 104, Gardena 39
Crenshaw 79, L.A. Jordan 76
Washington 87, Dorsey 74
Fairfax 92, West Adams 51
Southern Section Girls Results (1st Round)
Long Beach Poly 65, Paramount 15
Lynwood 63, Palmdale 42
Troy 57, Long Beach Jordan 29
Long Beach Wilson 67, Schurr 55
Cajon 67, Redondo 28
Long Beach Millikan 68, Quartz Hill 55
Culver City 60, North Torrance 56
St. Mary’s Academy 83, Artesia 60
Compton Centennial 52, Morningside 36
Bishop Montgomery 75, Brentwood 45
Gardena Serra 74, Alverno 11
City Section Girls Schedule (Tonight at 7 p.m.)
Locke at Chatsworth
Palisades at Dorsey
Granada Hills at Carson
Banning at Fairfax
Birmingham at Washington
Venice at El Camino Real
Crenshaw at Westchester
Narbonne at Taft
Southern Section Boys Schedule (Tonight at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise indicated)
Long Beach Jordan at Rancho Verde
Los Alamitos at Lynwood
Dominguez at Hesperia
Pasadena at Long Beach Poly
Long Beach Wilson at Riverside King
Redondo at Huntington Beach
Leuzinger at Canyon Springs
Campbell Hall at St. John Bosco
Palm Desert at Gahr
St. Francis at Bishop Montgomery
Inglewood at JSerra (San Juan Capistrano)
Lompoc at Compton Centennial
South El Monte at Serra (Gardena)
Price at Fillmore
Lawndale at Chaminade (7 p.m.)
St. Paul at Verbum Dei
Linfield Christian at Morningside
Windward at Yeshiva