After three City championship game losses to Westchester, Taft finally rises to win the title as senior forward C.J. Blackwell throws down a dunk late in the game. Photo by Jason Lewis
Carson was determined to defend their title, as senior center Janitah Iamaleava was not denied a path to the basket. Photo by Jason LewisBy Jason LewisSentinel Sports Editor
In the City Section, Taft finally overcame Westchester, Carson surprised Narbonne, and View Park and LACES each won a City title against each other. Before the boy’s Division I championship game, the video on the big screen at USC’s Galen Center showed the years that Westchester and Taft won City titles. Westchester had 11, and Taft only two. Three of Westchester’s titles were won against Taft, including the last two years. But this year Taft has led the City all season, including a win at Westchester earlier in the year. After an even start, Taft pulled away and it looked like the route was on, but Westchester was not about to let go of their City title without a fight. Down by as much as 13 points in the 3rd period, Westchester battled back to within three points late in the game. At that time Taft coach Derrick Taylor said that his team needed to survive as Westchester was charging back into the game. Taft forward C.J. Blackwell’s 20 points and 14 rebounds, and forward Stephen Maxwell’s 18 points and nine rebounds were too much for Westchester in the end, and point guard Spencer Dinwiddie made sure his big men got the ball where they needed it. Dinwiddie finished the game with 14 points and 12 assists, as Taft hung on to win 66-62. In the girl’s Division I title game, like Taft, it was Narbonne’s year, and they defeated Carson twice during the regular season. Narbonne was looking to avenge their loss in last year’s City championship game against Carson.Narbonne showed up expecting to win, but Carson showed up determined to win and keep their City title. Even though Carson lost twice by double digits to Narbonne, and Narbonne pretty much blew out every City opponent that they played, Carson coach Marcel Sanders thought that his team simply had to play up to their abilities to defend their title. Carson did just that, and they did it from the opening tip off. They scored the first eight points of the game, and held a commanding 52-35 3rd period lead. Narbonne tried to claw their way back into the game, but they eventually fell 64-55. Carson center Janitah Iamaleava was dominant on the inside, scoring 25 points and bringing down 10 rebounds. Point guard Chante Miles added 17 points, seven rebounds, and two assists. Carson is peaking at the perfect time, and Sanders likes his chances against anybody as they make a run at the State title. In the Small Schools Division, it was View Park against LACES in both of the boy’s and girl’s games. In the boy’s match up, View Park won the title with an 80-67 win, and in the girl’s match up, LACES took the title with a 59-43 victory. In the Southern Section, Long Beach Poly boy’s Division 1AA championship was just one step towards a State title. They led Corona Centennial the entire game on the way to a 68-52 victory. Poly senior forward Ryan Anderson finished the game with 18 points and 21 rebounds, as Poly led the game by as much as 23 points. In the Division 3A title game, Inglewood had an opportunity to tie the game with seconds left, but a missed lay up gave Harvard-Westlake a 47-45 win. Gardena Serra girl’s team knocked off Santa Maria St. Joseph 66-58 in the Division 3AA championship game behind sophomore guard Sierra Thompson’s 28 points.
Senior forward Lawerence Wynn takes off over a LACES defender in View Park’s 80-67 boy’s City Section Small Schools championship win. Photo by Nick Koza
LACES guard Maya Callender gets her shot off as her team wins the girl’s City Section Small Schools championship over View Park. Photo by Nick Koza
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