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High Schools | CITY SECTION BASKETBALL FINALS

Westchester, Ariza Rise to the Challenge

March 09, 2003|Dan Arritt | Times Staff Writer

Trevor Ariza of Westchester won the City Championship boys' basketball game Saturday afternoon at the Forum. The Comets will get their name in the record books, but the victory belonged to the 6-foot-8 forward.

Ariza, who has signed with UCLA, had 21 points, 16 rebounds and three blocked shots to lead Westchester past Los Angeles Fairfax, 66-56. It's the fourth consecutive City title and fifth in the last six years for the Comets.

Ariza said the opportunity to be the first Westchester class to win four championships made him restless with anticipation.

"I was so excited for this game I couldn't sleep last night," said Ariza, who scored 11 of Westchester's 18 points in the third quarter when the Comets led by 22. "I was excited about the chance to win another championship. My team worked hard for this."

During one stretch, Ariza turned the ball over at midcourt, came back to block Kevin's Bell's layup attempt, stole the ball from Josh Shipp and then led a fastbreak that featured his behind-the-back pass to Scott Cutley, who laid the ball in for a 33-15 lead.

"He killed us," said Bell, who scored 15 points. "It's tough to stop a player like that."

Fairfax forward Jamal Boykin scored nine of his 20 points late in the third quarter and early in the fourth to cut the deficit to 40-33 with 5:59 left.

But Westchester scored the next five points, the final basket coming on a two-on-one fastbreak led by Ariza and finished by Jonathan Tolliver.

Ariza fouled out with 2:34 left and the Comets holding a 12-point lead.

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