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March 03, 1994|SEAN WATERS

NOT TO BE

Talk about a Westchester-Crenshaw championship game turned out to be premature. Although the Cougars will defend their title in the City Section 4-A Division finals Friday at the Sports Arena, the Comets' season came to a surprising end Friday.

Jason Howzell scored Dorsey's last seven points to help the Dons upset Westchester, 71-68, in the quarterfinals at Westchester. Howzell made consecutive three-point shots to give Dons their first lead, 69-68, with 47 seconds remaining.

"I don't know if we wanted to win as badly as they did," Westchester Coach Ed Azzam said. "They were more aggressive going after rebounds and they came up with the loose balls. They are very athletic. They're a good team.

"I've said all along: 'If we don't play hard, we're not that good.' "

The Comets (24-5) should be improved next season. They return nine players, including four starters and two top reserves. Returning starters Ben Sanders, a junior, and Danny Walker, a sophomore, should be among the best players in the Coastal Conference.

Before Azzam starts thinking about next basketball season, he has to worry about another sport he coaches--junior varsity softball, which began Tuesday.

SHOT DOWN

Fairfax, the area's second-rated team, had one of the best defensive teams in the City, but also had one of the poorest shooting teams. On Friday, the Lions shot only 27% from the field in a 55-47 loss to Fremont in a 4-A quarterfinal game.

Duane Davis scored 17 points and Terryl Woolery had 16, but the rest of the team managed only 14 points.

Still, Lion Coach Harvey Kitani was impressed with his team's attitude.

"This was probably the most enjoyable season I've ever had coaching," said Kitani, who won City titles in 1985 and 1987.

"Everyone had a great attitude the whole year. There were no ego problems to deal with. Usually I have one or two guys who are chronic complainers. This year, coaching was a lot of fun."

Three Fairfax players are expected to receive scholarships to play college basketball next season. Woolery, a 6-foot-4 forward, is being recruited by Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount. Shaphan Roberts, a 6-2 guard, and Tony Davis, a 6-3 guard, are being recruiting by Division II schools.

CLEARING THE BENCH

The St. Bernard girls' basketball team is tired of being criticized for running up the score. Can they help it if they held their playoff opponents to less then 30 points a game?

In Saturday's Southern Section Division IV-AA semifinal game, the Vikings beat Morro Bay, 51-16. Viking forward Olympia Scott had 26 points, 31 rebounds and four blocked shots.

Scott, along with the Vikings' other starters, did not play the last four minutes of the game.

"We substituted players throughout the game," Viking Coach Lori Pawinski said. "That might have hurt us because the players will not be sharp for the finals."

St. Bernard will not have an easy time defensively when the Vikings play Santa Ynez in the championship game Friday night at Lompoc High.

"They shoot well, they pass well," Pawinski said. "They're a good team. We have to be a lot more aggressive and not give up the easy shots."

The Vikings plan to utilize their height advantage underneath with 6-2 Scott and 6-4 center Marte Alexander.

"We will go inside like we always do, but we're going to try and fast break a little more," Pawinski said.

TURNAROUND

In the past, the City Section soccer playoffs have been dominated by teams from the San Fernando Valley and East Los Angeles. So what was a Westside team like Hamilton still doing in the playoffs?

Would you believe winning?

But after beating traditional powers Reseda and Monroe, the Yankees' attempt to make it three consecutive wins over San Fernando schools ended Tuesday in the City Section quarterfinals. They lost to Kennedy, 2-1

Only two years ago the team had a 1-11 record.

The Yankees, however, started their turnaround last season when Bob Zapel became a volunteer assistant. Zapel, who began coaching his two sons at the American Youth Soccer Organization level in 1989, and Coach Jose Ramos guided the team to a 3-5-2 record in 1992 and a 9-3-1 record this season.

The team was led by senior center-forward David Close, who had seven goals and 12 assists in 12 games. Left halfback Ben Braun, right halfback Jose Rivas, sweeper Oscar Rivas (no relation) and right-forward Victor Gonzalez were the team's other top players. All five were selected to the Metro League first team.

Zapel's son Sean also played soccer for the Yankees. His younger son Brett is a freshman pitcher for Crossroads varsity baseball team.

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