Westchester senior Lindsey Black (10) defends Taft junior Nardia McKenney (43) (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

The Westchester Lady Comets started their postseason journey with a 61-17 victory against the Taft Toreadors. This was one of the four games that make up the first round of the City Section girls basketball Open division playoffs.

“We started off with a lot of pressure and intensity,” said Lady Comet senior Ronyae Jackson. “Our offense, we’re moving the ball really good and running our plays well.”

Westchester brought defensive energy from the start of the game by double teaming players and forcing turnovers. The Toreadors’ shot suffered throughout the first half. The Lady Comets battled the Toreadors with full-court presses on several possessions.

“We ran over it through practice, so it was good to see it in the game,” said Westchester junior Mariah Blake. “We have to contain the middle.”

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Toreadores junior Brigita Bulotaite scored the first shot early in the first quarter, but few scores were made for Taft. Midway through the second quarter, the starters were subbed out and the reserves maintain their control of the game.

“They really just passed their energy to us,” Lady Comets junior Kyana Davis said. “They stayed with a lot of intensity and motivation towards us to make us be motivated to keep on going.”

Blake was happy to see the bench players get playing time during the playoffs.

“I love seeing them play, just enjoy it,” Blake said. “I like seeing my other teammates score and play defense … it’s good because they really don’t get minutes in tough games.”

By the half, the Lady Comets were up 44-6. Taft found more opportunities to score in the second half but Westchester controlled the pace of the game.

“I think we play very fast pace, up-tempo, we like to run a lot. I think that comes from practice because we do a lot of running,” said Westchester senior Rylei Waugh. “Our coaches are very, very full of energy, so we just piggyback off them.”

The Lady Comets have a 27-1 overall record and a 12-0 Western league record.

“I think we just stay focused in the game because we know what’s important to us,” Davis said. “It’s about the win, so we all motivate each other to stay focused.”

Jackson noted how the team puts in extra work on their offensive skills.

“The team we work on shot efficiency and all that stuff during the practices and individual work,” Jackson said.

Crenshaw High School defeated Palisades 69-52, the Cougars will battle the Lady Comets in the second round on February 18.

“This year’s team is kind of different from the rest of the years I’ve been here,” Waugh said. “I’m just really happy that I’m a part of it and I can’t wait to finish it out with everyone.”

Granada Hills Charter beat San Fernando 55-45 and King/Drew hit a buzzer-beater to defeat Birmingham 53-52. The Highlanders will battle the Golden Eagles on February 18.