Landon Drew learned over the weekend that the City Section had granted him a hardship waiver, clearing him to play basketball this season at Los Angeles Fairfax. Without it, he would have been ineligible for a year after transferring from Woodland Hills Taft without moving.
"I could see a genuine sense of relief and happiness," Fairfax Coach Harvey Kitani said.
There certainly is happiness for Kitani, who now has an outstanding point guard to build his young team around. Drew started as a sophomore for Taft. He's the younger brother of North Carolina guard Larry Drew Jr. His father is the coach of the Atlanta Hawks.
Drew has grown to 6 feet, looks stronger and more confident. He still needs to develop a more consistent outside shot, but Kitani calls him one of the best guards in California for his class.
Fairfax opens its season Nov. 30 against Compton Dominguez at 7 p.m. in the Redondo tournament. Also in the Lions' bracket is the expected No. 1 team in California, Long Beach Poly, which the Lions faced in a scrimmage Saturday.
The top City Section team figures to be Taft, which opens play Monday in the Westchester tournament against King-Drew at 7:30 p.m.
On Friday, Upland (8-3) has the unenviable task of facing an 11-0 Corona Centennial football team that is averaging 56.3 points. They face off in an Inland Division playoff game at Upland.
Asked what strategy he has come up with, Upland Coach Tim Salter said, "We thought we'd slash the school bus tires before they leave."
On a more serious note, Salter praised Centennial's underrated defense.
"Not enough has been written about their defense," he said. "I think they're the best defense we've seen since we played Mission Viejo in 2004."
Respect for Santa Margarita
Huntington Beach Edison faced Anaheim Servite, Santa Ana Mater Dei and Los Alamitos this season, but Coach Dave White said after a 49-3 loss to Santa Margarita that the Eagles were the best team his players have played this season.
Hoping for Blackwell
Receiver Victor Blackwell of Mater Dei had his arm in a sling last week after suffering a dislocated shoulder and didn't play against Long Beach Poly, but when asked if he might play this week, he nodded in the affirmative. Coach Bruce Rollinson said it will be a doctor's decision whether Blackwell gets onto the field against Tesoro in a Pac-5 quarterfinal.
City final rematch
The Crenshaw-Narbonne quarterfinal playoff game at Crenshaw is a rematch of last year's City Section Division I final won by Crenshaw.
Narbonne quarterback Troy Williams will get a chance to see a Crenshaw defense that puts pressure on the quarterback and has shut down top receivers lately.