It’s Western League vs. West Valley League in City Section Open Division basketball semifinals

First-year Fairfax coach Jamal Hartwell has his basketball crew within the City Section Open Division semifinals with some spectacular coaches. There’s three-time City champion Derrick Taylor of Taft and two-time City champion Nick Halic of Birmingham. There’s additionally Dewitt Cotton of Westchester. He was a Comets assistant for 32 years to 15-time City champion Ed Azzam.

“I’m going against some longtime coaches,” Hartwell mentioned. “I feel good about it. We’ll be ready.”

The Open Division boys’ semifinals on Saturday at Pasadena City College will match Taft towards Westchester at 5:30 p.m., adopted by Fairfax towards Birmingham at 7 p.m. In the Open Division women’ semifinals, Crenshaw will face Westchester at 1 p.m., adopted by King/Drew taking up top-seeded Granada Hills at 2:30 p.m. Tickets will probably be out there on starting Thursday.

The large shock final week was No. 8-seeded Westchester upsetting No. 1 Narbonne. Cotton was serving the ultimate recreation of a three-game suspension for pulling his crew off the court docket with 1.3 seconds left in a nonleague loss to Crenshaw. He’s again teaching his crew this week. He mentioned he has apologized to his gamers.

The Comets misplaced twice to Fairfax through the Western League season however Cotton mentioned of his gamers, “They’ve gotten a lot better.”

Michael Hill, a switch from Santa Monica, has stepped up as a scoring menace to assist veterans Angel Corona and Jonathan Choyce. They will should be at their finest to beat a surging Taft crew that has Keyon Kensie Jr., who’s averaging 25 factors a recreation.

Fairfax went unbeaten within the Western League behind Darius Carr, a midseason switch, and veteran level guard David Mack. Hartwell was an assistant to Harvey Kitani, Steve Baik and Reggie Morris Jr. earlier than being employed as head coach this season when Morris left for Redondo Union. All three received City titles with the Lions, and now it’s Hartwell’s flip.

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Birmingham is a younger crew that cut up with Taft throughout West Valley League play. Halic likes his assortment of gamers as a result of at any time, a distinct participant may lead the crew in scoring.

“We can beat anybody on any given night when we’re playing our best,” Halic mentioned.

A freshman, Caleb Newton, scored 21 factors for the Patriots of their win over San Pedro.

The women’ semifinals are extra like a chance for No. 1 Granada Hills and No. 2 Westchester to have one closing preparation recreation earlier than having their showdown for the City title on Feb. 25 at PCC.

Granada Hills went unbeaten within the West Valley League. Westchester went unbeaten within the Western League.