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Anthony January, Taft High School basketball

Anthony January put on an aerial show against Dorsey in the City championship game, as he had seven dunks during the game.  Photo by Jason Lewis  View more of January's spectacular dunks here. http://www.lasentinel.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=919:taft-ain-t-having-none-of-that&catid=108&Itemid=198

Taft basketball
Taft knocked off Crenshaw and then Dorsey, and now they competing for the State title.  Photo by Jason Lewis


January’s 24 points and 19 rebounds were too much for Dorsey to handle as Taft wins 58-42, giving them back-to-back championships and four since 2004.

By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor
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Dorsey’s only City Section basketball championship was back in 1976, and this year they were on a magical ride to win it again.  With come from behind victories over No. 2 Fairfax in the quarterfinals, and then over No. 3 Westchester in the semifinals, they looked like they could finally hoist the championship trophy again. 

Against Fairfax and Westchester, Dorsey trailed in the second half of both of those games, but they were able to hit a switch midway through the fourth periods of both of those games and run both of those City powers out of the gym. 

But that magical ride came to a halt because of Taft’s 6’7” forward Anthony January, who can fly above the rim. 

In a somewhat close game in the second half, Dorsey did not have the opportunity to kick it into overdrive because January and fellow dunker Brandon Perry went to work with massive dunks to start the third period. 

Once Taft built a double-digit lead there was no looking back, and January started to put on an aerial show.  Dorsey simply did not have a player, or collection of players, who could match up to his 24 points and 19 rebounds.

As great as the offensive show was, Taft’s defense was just as good.

“Dorsey is a great team off the dribble, and we kept them out of the paint, and that’s how we came out with the victory,” Taft head coach Jason Hart said.

On the offensive end of the court Hart keeps it simple, and he welcomes all the dunks.

“Every game the plan is to attack the basket,” Hart said.  “I think our size and athleticism is our strength, and if we’re shooting more jumpers than getting the ball in the paint then I’m not doing a good job as a coach.”

Hart, who is from Los Angeles and attended Inglewood high school, has done a great job as a coach, even though many people doubted him because he is only 33 years old.  He played 10 seasons in the NBA before being hired by Taft this season.  Right now he’s feeling on top of the world.

“It feels great,” Hart said.  “It means that a young man, a young coach can win.  Give young men like myself a chance to coach.  You don’t have to be 40 or 50 for kids to believe in you.  It’s almost easier for them to believe in me because I am younger.”

Taft has won the last two City championships, and four since 2004.  But now their sights are set on a bigger prize.  The State championship. 

“Now we’re on our way to State,” Hart said.  “I think we’re one of the top teams in California, and now we have to show it.” 

 

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Category: High School


 

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