DETERMINED: Crenshaw senior Deuce Zaid had 26 points against Price last weekend and is part of the reason the Cougars are not just the third-best team in the City, but could give either Westchester or Taft all they would handle in the postseason.
Photo Credit: Nick Koza for Sentinel
Crenshaw proves its mettle in defeat
By Evan Barnes
Sentinel Sports Editor
I know most of the focus in the City will be Westchester and Taft and their possible meeting in the City Section finals, but don't count out Crenshaw making one of those teams squirm in the semifinals,
Despite their loss against Price at the Fairfax State Preview Classic, they're a team with active hands and steady minds. They never seemed to rush and got whatever shot they wanted against the taller Knights.
If not for Price junior guard Askia Booker banking a three-pointer to force overtime, they were poised for a major upset.
Crenshaw seniors Reynaul Baker and Deuce Zaid might the best scoring tandem among the top teams in the City but it was Zaid, who scored 26 against Price, which impressed Knights coach Mychal Lynch the most.
"[Zaid] was a big surprise, we didn't expect him to play that well," Lynch said.
Zaid also was able to fight Price's 6-10 center Richard Solomon for rebounds along with 6-6 senior Emmitt Duvall. It was a sign that the Cougars' biggest weakness - size - may not be easily exploited when two to three players are fighting for every rebound.
Lynch sounded relieved to get the win and knowing how the Cougars made them fight for every point, he should've been.
They'll end the season next week against Fremont, which will be a good test heading into the playoffs in two weeks where they should get the No. 3 seed.
Prior to his team's game against Serra, Taft head coach Derrick Taylor was taking notes and he had to no doubt see how much tougher the Cougars had gotten since they met in the playoffs last season.
The two teams will probably meet in the City semifinals next month and Crenshaw's scrappy, methodical style will give Taft all they can handle....
Speaking of Taft, they'll headline the 2010 Nike Extravaganza this week at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, the annual two-day tournament featuring the best in California against teams from around the country.
In their first appearance in the Extravaganza, the Toreadors will face St. Patrick's (New Jersey) in the 9 pm finale.
Westchester will be sitting out the event this year but league rival Fairfax will return - playing the 5:30 game against Wheeler (Georgia).
The early game of the evening session with feature a local matchup between Ocean View against Orange Lutheran at 4 p.m. and host Mater Dei will face nationally ranked Bishop Gorman (Nevada) at 7:30 p.m. Tickets will be $12 general admission and $22 for reserved seating...