Brendyn Taylor is starting to play like the Brendyn Taylor of old, which means the Western League basketball race is about to get very interesting.
Playing in only his seventh game of the season after gaining CIF eligibility, Taylor scored 17 points on Wednesday to help Fairfax upset Westchester, 53-46, at Westchester, pulling the Lions into a first-place tie with Palisades.
Fairfax (14-7, 6-1) and Palisades (12-9, 6-1) are a half-game ahead of Westchester (13-5, 5-1).
"It's going to come down to a dogfight," Fairfax Coach Harvey Kitani said.
In beating the Comets for the first time on their home court since Renardo Sidney was playing, Fairfax took advantage of cold shooting by Westchester in the second quarter to open a 27-14 halftime lead. The Comets made just one of 11 shots.
Westchester spent much of the second half trying to produce a comeback. A key three-pointer by Jonathan Brown with just over two minutes left saved the Lions. Westchester kept fouling, and Ronny Price made three free throws in the final seconds to keep his team ahead.
Keywhon Powns scored 17 points for Westchester and was nine for nine from the free-throw line.
Fairfax has been inconsistent this season, playing well on defense but struggling at times shooting. Chaunce Hill helped the Lions inside with seven rebounds and four blocks. But Taylor's presence clearly made a difference.
"I just have to get back into my groove," he said. "It's been bottled inside of me. I get to let it out."
Taylor played in only seven games last season as a junior until being declared ineligible. He previously was a standout guard at View Park Prep.
"It's been hard," he said. "I couldn't work out with the team. I would work out myself and tried to stay polished. The rust is starting to come off. I'm starting to play like the regular me."