Fairfax junior Romello McRae (25) defends Crenshaw junior Jeremiah Blackmon (23) (photo by Rob Helfman)

The Fairfax Lions defeated the Crenshaw Cougars 74-71 in the first round of the CIF City Section Open Division playoffs. Rebounding and shooting accuracy helped the Lions secure the victory.

The Lions went on a 10-4 run in the early minutes of the game. Cougars junior Jeremiah Blackmon made shots to tie the game at 10, however, the first quarter would end with the Cougars behind 12-14.

“[Crenshaw] was in a lot of zone and my coach was just telling us to attack,” Fairfax junior David Mack. “That’s what I was doing, trying to get all the buckets I can and help my team as much as I possibly can.”

The game stayed close until late in the second quarter when the Lions found a five-point run. At Halftime, Fairfax was up 27-22.

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“We just stuck with what our coaches telling us, keep passing and attacking the open gaps, getting our shots,” Mack said. “All the little hustle plays.”

That offensive momentum carried the Lions into the third quarter where they led by as much as 14 points. Crenshaw rallied in the fourth quarter, reducing the 14-point lead down to a two-point deficit.

Blackmon and Fairfax senior Donald Bluitt III fouled out in the matchup. Crenshaw now has a 23-4 overall record, ranking them fifth in the City Section.

Fairfax now has an 18-10 overall record. Mack noted how the Lions at times played with only five or six available players.

“We’re all skilled, we can score,” Mack said. “We’re very tough, we’re not just gonna quit.”

The Birmingham Patriots defeated the San Pedro Pirates 76-64; the Patriots will battle the Lions at Pasadena City College (PCC) on February 18 at 7:00P.M.

The eighth-seeded Westchester Comets upset the top-seeded Narbonne Gauchos 60-56. The Taft Toreadors beat the King/Drew Golden Eagles 66-43. The Toreadors will clash against the Comets at PCC on February 18 at 5:30P.M.