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Sidney elevates Fairfax over No. 3 Westchester

January 19, 2008|Eric Sondheimer | Times Staff Writer

If there were any doubts about the basketball ability of 6-foot-10 junior center Renardo Sidney of Los Angeles Fairfax, they vanished Friday night during an extraordinary individual performance against Westchester in a game for first place in the Western League.

Sidney scored a career-high 36 points, including five dunks, and had 19 rebounds, five assists and three blocks as the No. 7-ranked Lions (15-2, 5-0) held off No. 3 Westchester, 68-63, at Fairfax.

"He is such a phenomenal player," Fairfax Coach Harvey Kitani said. "He has a great feel for the game."

Sidney, who helped Lakewood Artesia win the state Division III championship last season and is considered the No. 1 center prospect in the nation for the Class of 2009, has spent the last six weeks adjusting to his new teammates. From the first quarter, when he made all six of his shots, he was pumped and focused for the Lions' rivalry game.

"This is my first game against [Westchester], and the crowd got me hyped," he said. "I love playing in big games."

Sidney and Westchester's 6-foot-7 Dwayne Polee Jr. excited the packed gym by answering each other's dunks.

"He'd come down with a dunk," Sidney said. "And I'd come down with a dunk. It was fun."

Fairfax appeared to be in trouble after Chris Solomon, its second-leading scorer, fouled out with 1:56 left. But sophomore Jordan Weathers made a jump shot with 1:36 left to give Fairfax a 64-61 lead. A basket by Westchester's Cordell Hadnot made it 64-63.

Then Darius Singletary of Fairfax scored with 1:01 left for a 66-63 lead. And Singletary's two free throws with 4.5 seconds left clinched the victory.

Oscar Bellfield scored 21 points and Dominique O'Connor and Jarred Dubois had 14 each for Westchester (18-3, 4-1).

The rematch will be Feb. 6 at Loyola Marymount.

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eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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