Washington Prep junior Dewayman Martin (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

The Washington Prep Generals will battle the San Pedro Pirates boy’s basketball team in the Division I CIF City Section Championship. The Generals defeated the Fairfax Lions 58-46 in the City Section Semifinals. The Pirates punched their ticket to the championship by defeating Crenshaw 70-63.

Washington Prep boys basketball head coach Jovante King has led two teams to a City Section championship game this season.  He was the head coach of the football team who battled against Jordan High School in the Division III City Section Championships in November.

“I’m gonna cherish this forever,” King, an alum of Washington Prep, said. “I never expected this in the same season.”

Both the Generals and the Lions started out slow; Fairfax had a 9-8 advantage by the end of the first quarter. The Generals returned in the second phase with a 9-2 run. Free throws helped the Lions keep the score close and a three-pointer by Jaden Depina tied the game at 17. By the half, both teams were tied at 24.

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“We came out slow even though we shouldn’t have to because we’re better than that,” said Generals senior Freeman Hopkins. “Towards the end of the half, we started picking it up.”

Washington Prep went on an 8-2 run by Briyan Aldridge and Dewayman Martin. Hopkins battled for rebounds on both ends of the floor and converted them to baskets. By the end of the third phase, Washington Prep was up 43-33.

Martin sank three three-point shots in the fourth quarter to seal the Lions’ fate.

“My teammates helped create shots for me, send me off ball screens, kept encouraging me,” Martin said. “When people believe in you, it’s just easier to do things because you start to believe in yourself more.”

Crenshaw player Lacoy Smith (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

The Generals finished the regular season ranked second in the Coliseum League with a 6-2 record and a 14-15 overall record. Fairfax has a 9-21 overall record.

The offense flowed freely for the San Pedro Pirates in the early minutes, creating a 10-4 lead. Accurate three-point shooting by senior Nathan Cigar helped the Pirates to a 21-11 advantage by the end of the first quarter.

“We tried to do our best defensive-wise,” said senior King Peterson. “We was just trying to stop them, whatever play, whatever dribble drive they do, whatever offense they run.”

The Cougars made runs in the second phase but only came with in four points of the Pirates. By the half, San Pedro was up 33-25 against Crenshaw.

Foul troubles plagued the Cougars as Pirates senior Chiemerie Emegwa was sent to the free throw line four times in the first half.

“I knew that we had to get this win today,” Emegwa said. “It was very important … this means a lot.”

Shots kept falling for the Pirates and they led by as much as 16 points in the third. Jeremiah Blackmon battled for rebounds and points while Lacoy Smith rallied in the second half with three-pointers.

“I figured out they were cutting me off on my left side and I’m left-handed,” Smith said. “I just switched and use my right hand and step back and get my open shots open.”

Crenshaw has a 14-13 overall record and a 5-3 Coliseum League record while San Pedro has a 21-10 overall record and a 7-3 Marine League record.