The King/Drew Golden Eagles paced the Coliseum League with a 7-1 record (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

The King/Drew Golden Eagles boys and the Birmingham Patriots girls basketball teams have won the City Section Open Division Championships.

The Patriots dethroned the reigning Open Division Champion Westchester Lady Comets 55-50.

King/Drew defeated the LACES Unicorns 51-45, thwarting their Cinderella run in the playoffs. The eighth-seeded LACES upset the top-seeded Cleveland 59-52 in the first round and defeated Chatsworth 52-49 in the semifinals.

Unicorn junior Joshua Sangster noted how the defensive efforts of the squad are one of their key qualities.

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“We didn’t think we’re gonna make it this far,” Sangster said. “We’ve been in the gym every day, we’ve been practicing together to get here.”

The Golden Eagles found their rhythm at the perimeter in the early minutes of the game. The Unicorns made a seven-point run to regain the lead. A basket by freshman guard Jayshawn Kibble tied the game at 13 to end the first quarter.

The King/Drew offense went cold for four minutes, which allowed LACES to regain the lead. A three-pointer by Kibble gave an offensive spark to King/Drew and they ultimately ended the first half with a three-point lead. Kibble explained how much effort he puts into his scoring abilities.

Birmingham senior Nat Lopez (3) defends Westchester freshman Savannah Myles (4) (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

“I work out every day on my shot. In my workouts, we do in-game reps,” Kibble said. “So in the game, I’m prepared to knock it down.”

The Golden Eagles carried their offensive momentum into the third quarter. Free throw shooting became the main source of scoring for the Unicorns.

“Because of the offense we run, any guy on any day can go,” said King/Drew senior Kameron Gates.

Golden Eagles sophomore Josahn Webster noted how mental fortitude was key for his offensive prowess.

“If you’re not locked into shooting, then you’re not going to make the shot,” Webster said. “If you keep thinking about that miss, then you’re not gonna make the next one.”

King/Drew led by as much as 12 points in the fourth quarter. LACES junior Yasin Sharif made shots in the final minutes but the scoring efforts of King/Drew kept them one step ahead.

For the third consecutive time, Westchester reached the Open Division Title match. The squad was the second seed in the playoffs.

LACES junior Yasin Sharif (12) defends King/Drew freshman Jayshawn Kibble (5) (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

“Coming back was a blessing,” said Westchester junior Reign Waugh. “We’ve been in the championship three times in a row and I don’t think many teams get that opportunity.”

The Lady Comets kept control of the first quarter. Three-point shooting by senior Devyn Berry and junior Annette Jones helped the Patriots gain control of the game. By Halftime, Birmingham was up 24-23.

Berry mentioned how her three-point shooting and getting rebounds were important to the Patriots’ success.

“They were going in so I kept shooting them,” Berry said. “We knew that rebounding was going to be a really big factor and that we had to limit our second chances.”

Both teams boosted their offensive efforts after intermission which caused eight lead changes in the third alone; they entered the final quarter tied at 36.

A three pointer by Westchester senior Kyana Davis tied the game at 45 with 2:36 left, Patriots sophomore Zoee Mitchell countered with a jumper. Although Waugh tied the game up with 1:19 in regulation, the Patriots executed free-throw shots to secure their victory.