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ERIC SONDHEIMER / ON HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL

Fairfax's 56-53 win over Westchester creates three-way league tie

The Fairfax Lions win, 56-53, at home against the Westchester Comets, creating a three-way tie for first place in the City Section's Western League.

February 10, 2012|Eric Sondheimer

There never has been a high school basketball league season quite like what has transpired in the City Section's Western League.

"Wacky" is the appropriate word, because Fairfax, Westchester and Palisades finished in a three-way tie for first place.

The deadlock came about after Fairfax defeated Westchester, 56-53, on Friday night before a packed home crowd, sweeping the Comets for the first time since 2007.

Now it's up to the City Section seeding committee to figure out what to do with three teams that took turns beating each other.

Fairfax (19-9, 10-2) lost twice to Palisades (16-10, 10-2), which lost twice to Westchester (20-6, 10-2), which lost twice to Fairfax. Which team will be No. 2 behind Woodland Hills Taft when the Division I playoff seedings are announced Saturday?

Fairfax Coach Harvey Kitani says his team deserves the nod based on two wins over the Comets and a stronger nonleague schedule than Palisades.

The Lions certainly have a red-hot guard in senior Brendyn Taylor, who made four three-pointers and finished with 18 points. Landon Drew had 12 points, and Reggie Theus Jr. had 11.

Westchester came in with seven consecutive victories, but the Comets played so poorly in the first half that they had no chance to come back. They fell behind, 14-2, in the first quarter and had three 35-second shot clock violations. They made just three of 10 free throws in falling behind, 22-14, at halftime.

They trailed by 15 points in the third quarter, then began a rally behind Je'ron Primus, who finished with 19 points. Westchester was down, 47-43, with 21/2 minutes remaining, but Fairfax was able to make clutch free throws down the stretch to prevail.

Critical to the victory was rebounding. The Lions didn't allow Westchester to get second and third shots off offensive rebounds. And veteran guards Drew and Taylor guided the team home.

"We've been stressing this game from the beginning of the season," Taylor said. "We had a great week of practice. We grinded it. People stepped up. Everybody played well."

The playoffs begin next week, and Kitani said it remains wide open. "It's going to be who plays the best over the next two weeks," he said.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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