There were 10 lead changes in the second half of a hard-fought City Section Division I championship boys' basketball game Saturday night, just what was expected in the long-anticipated duel between Westchester and Woodland Hills El Camino Real at Cal State Dominguez Hills.
But when the going got tough, the Comets turned to senior guard Matthew Grant. He contributed a three-pointer with 2 minutes 44 seconds left, then another basket with 2:03 remaining, and Westchester finally pulled away for a 65-59 victory to win a 12th City championship for Coach Ed Azzam.
Cameron Young's three-point play with 4:05 left gave Westchester (28-6) the lead for good at 52-51.
The second half produced one lead change after another. Westchester relied on free throws, scoring all 10 of its third-quarter points at the line. The Comets did not make a basket after halftime until Elijah Stewart's three-pointer with 5:11 left in the fourth quarter. There were 20 fouls called in the third quarter alone, 12 on El Camino Real.
Julian Richardson had 13 points for El Camino Real and Kelton Conway came off the bench to score 10.
Westchester made six three-pointers in the first half to take a 32-26 halftime lead. The Conquistadores struggled to get their standout forward, Michael Thomas, into their offensive scheme. He was limited to two points.
Hamilton edges Poly
It's hard to imagine a wilder ending to a basketball game than the City Section Division III championship final between Sun Valley Poly and Hamilton.
With two seconds left, Jaffery Stillman of Hamilton scored a tying layup and was fouled. He missed the free throw and Poly rebounded and called time out with 1.5 seconds left.
The Parrots attempted a long inbounds pass, but the ball hit an American flag hanging from the ceiling at Cal State Dominguez Hills, giving Hamilton the ball under its own basket.
Brandon Lewis took the inbounds pass and scored on a layup as the buzzer sounded, giving the Yankees a 53-51 victory.
Poly had opened a 13-point lead in the third quarter behind sophomore Cesar Reyes, who finished with 23 points and made seven three-pointers. But Reyes fouled out with less than two minutes left, and that helped Hamilton's comeback.
Yankees Coach Mark Mizuno said the final out-of-bounds play couldn't have worked out better.
“They played right into our hands by playing man,” he said of Poly's man-to-man defense. “The pick and roll was going to be there. We called it, executed the play and it was right there.”
In the City Division IV/V final, Chance Comanche, a 6-foot-11 sophomore with scholarship offers from Arizona and USC, had 15 rebounds and Jordan Starling contributed 19 points in View Park Prep's 73-62 win over LACES.
Narbonne girls win
Harbor City Narbonne continues to dominate in City Division I girls' basketball, winning its third title under Coach Victoria Sanders with a 65-60 victory over Fairfax.
Kayla Brady and Jade Everage each made two free throws in the final 30 seconds to secure the victory. Latecia Smith finished with 17 points and Brady and Lauryn Catching had 10 points apiece.
Marguerite Effa led Fairfax with 21 points and Angelica Laury scored 19.
Reseda won the Division III girls' championship behind 6-foot-3 center Ahlisha Henderson, who finished with 31 points and 27 rebounds in the Regents' 69-65 victory over Eagle Rock.
In the Division IV/V title game, View Park defeated Animo South, 55-39.