Rival schools Fairfax and Westchester reunited at the Open Division City Section championship for the second consecutive year. The Fairfax Lions avenged themselves from their loss last year, defeating the Westchester Comets 60-53. Fairfax was 3-0 against Westchester this season.
Westchester stifled Fairfax early with a 10-3 run in the first five minutes of the game. The Comets’ momentum waned in the second quarter and the Lions held them to four points while scoring 19 points.
The Comets rallied back, reducing their deficit to four points in the final minutes of regulation, but Fairfax never relinquished their lead.
“They came out with a new game plan in the first quarter, so we had to adjust,” said Fairfax senior guard Ethan Anderson. “It’s a great win right here, I’m just proud of my teammates, I couldn’t get it going until late, but my teammates carried me.”
Both Fairfax and Westchester were slated on the open division state bracket. Westchester advanced to the second round of the state playoffs after defeating Rancho Christian 74-57. Fairfax was thwarted 75-76 to Centennial of Corona.
The Westchester girls’ basketball team also came short 49-59 against the Granada Hills Highlanders during the Open Division women’s championship.
“It’s a really good team, we played hard,” said Granada Hills junior Samiyah Muhammad. “This [was] our goal in the beginning of the season and it feels nice to have achieved it.”
Three Granada Hills players scored in the double digits with senior guard Brianna Torres pacing the team with 20 points. Junior center Haylee Aiden led with 10 rebounds. Senior Destiny Brown willed the team through the game with 23 points and almost as many rebounds. Having won a City championship with Westchester as a sophomore, Brown told her teammates to leave all their effort on the floor.
“In the beginning of the season, our record was 5-8,” she said. “But we started having very intense practices and started getting along with each other and started just beating each other up so we can come together as a team and make it here.”
Westchester and Granada Hills reached the division I state championship, along with Long Beach Poly and Narbonne. The Highlanders defeated Bakersfield 73-44 in round one, but lost to La Jolla Country Day 66-58 in the second round. The Comets took an early leave after falling to La Jolla Country Day 61-87.
For the division I city section championship, The Granada Hills boys’ basketball team routed University 71-54. Both teams went to the division III state tournament with the Highlanders having a second seed. The Highlander boys survived the first two round of state playoffs and will play Crescenta Valley on March 2. University upset top-seeded Montgomery, but fell to La Jolla Country Day in the second round.
The Palisades Dolphins and the Carson Colts battled for the girls’ basketball division I City Section crown and Palisades made a 57-54 victory. The Dolphins reached the regional semi-finals in the division III state tournament while Carson is going to the regional semi-finals in the division IV tournament.
The Van Nuys Wolves bested the Dorsey girls basketball team 43-29 for the division II girls’ City Section crown.
“Dorsey came out really aggressive, we had them 0-5 in the first quarter after three minutes,” Dorsey girls basketball coach Sherlett Hendy. “Third quarter I think is where Dorsey was cold … I think that was the turn of the game.”
Dorsey was the only Coliseum League team to make a championship appearance this year. Fremont and Washington Prep reached the state playoff with Fremont going to the Regional Semi-finals.
After reaching the division I Southern Section quarterfinals, the Serra girls basketball team were not allowed to defend their state crown. The View Park boys basketball team was also out of state playoff contention after losing to Granada Hills in the City Section semifinals.