The Westchester High School Comets are back on the high school boys basketball throne of Los Angeles.
After being banned from the playoffs last season, the Comets (21-3) arrived at the Forum in Inglewood Saturday, March 5th, ready to win their eighth Los Angeles City Section championship and they earned it with a 69-58 victory over Western League rival Fairfax High School.
The victory was the third defeat of Fairfax (24-5) this season for Westchester, which has begun a new era in city high school boys basketball after winning six city titles in the last eight years.
“It’s a heck of an accomplishment,” Westchester coach Ed Azzam said of the championship. “We’ve had a lot of adversity the last few years and the kids have gotten through it. They played outstanding.”
Most teams would consider a city title to be the pinnacle of a season, but Westchester, which is nationally ranked and the top team in the Southland, expected the title from the beginning of the season.
“For us it’s an expectation,” Azzam said. “The win is more relief than it is joy because of the expectation.”
The city championship was especially sweet for the players who missed out on a chance at the title last season due to a team recruiting violation ruling that was later overturned.
“For the kids, it was something they felt they had to accomplish,” he said.
Azzam said the key to Westchester’s eighth consecutive victory over Fairfax was the exceptional defense played by the Comets, who limited the number of easy shots taken by Fairfax.
Westchester took a 31-22 lead at halftime and stretched its advantage by as many as 18 points in the fourth quarter.
Senior center Amir Johnson led the offensive attack for Westchester with 15 points and nine rebounds.
Senior forward Jerard Moret added 12 points and senior guard Marcus Johnson, who had been out for a month with an ankle injury, scored eight points in the win.