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PREP EXTRA / A weekly look at the high school sports
scene | City Section Report

Crenshaw Begins to Serve Notice

January 22, 1998|GARY KLEIN

Through the early part of the season, Crenshaw's boys' basketball team was almost shrouded in mystery.

The five-time defending 4-A and Division I state champion Cougars played only 11 games through last week and had suffered two losses in a tournament over winter break.

When asked to assess Crenshaw's chances for its 17th City title, most City Section coaches simply said, "It doesn't matter what they're doing now. They'll be ready for the playoffs."

Crenshaw had a coming out of sorts Monday in the Martin Luther King Jr. Challenge at Pauley Pavilion. The Cougars defeated Etiwanda, 63-61, in overtime and displayed their usual depth.

Senior power forward Anthony Garrison started slowly but finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Sophomore point guard E.J. Harris had eight points, four assists and four steals and junior forward Ryan Sims blocked six shots.

Crenshaw travels to Carson on Friday before beginning Southern League by playing host to Gardena on Jan. 28.

And while most observers say the road to this year's 4-A title goes through Westchester, it would be wise to keep an eye on the Cougars.

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Narbonne is generally regarded as the favorite to win the girls' 4-A basketball championship, but Palisades is positioning itself for a run at the title.

The Dolphins improved to 12-5 Wednesday with a 73-33 Coastal Conference victory over Fairfax.

Palisades has been led by sophomore guard April Freeney, averaging 14 points, junior guard Leilani Estevan (12 points) and junior forward Nicole Fung (10).

"In the past, everyone thought of Palisades for girls' tennis and girls' volleyball," Dolphin Coach Kevin Hall said. "We're kind of quiet over here, but some people are starting to take notice."

Last year, Palisades lost to Narbonne by two points in the 4-A semifinals. Hall said the Dolphins are hoping to avenge the defeat in this year's playoffs.

"Narbonne is ranked high by everyone and that puts a lot of pressure on them," Hall said. "We still need to improve, but we'll be there come playoff time."

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