When it’s time to step up in the Los Angeles City Section playoffs, the Westchester High School Comets show why they’re the defending city champions.

The Comets (22-5) fought off a tough challenge by the visiting Jordan High School Bulldogs by elevating their level of play in the second half on their way to a 75-62 victory in the city championship division quarterfinals Tuesday, February 20th.

The victory for second-seeded Westchester sets up a home game against third-seeded Sun Valley Poly in the semifinals at 7 p.m. Thursday, February 22nd.

Top-seeded Fairfax High School and fifth-seeded Dorsey High School make up the other semifinal match-up February 22nd.

After losing both Western League games against league champion Fairfax High School this season, the Comets are aiming for payback against the top-seeded Lions in a potential city championship showdown Saturday, March 3rd.

The Comets had cruised to an 87-54 first-round playoff victory at home over Narbonne High Thursday, February 15th, but the Jordan Bulldogs (25-4) came out ready to battle in the second-round game and racked up 30 points in the first quarter.

In the high-scoring first quarter, the Bulldogs came out shooting to take the early lead and stretched their advantage to as much as 20-7, after junior Rodney Hudson scored eight of his ten points in the game.

But Westchester junior Jarred Dubois also put up eight points on the board, including two three-pointers to keep his team on pace.

A late three-pointer by junior Oscar Bellfield put Westchester within eight points heading into the second quarter.

While Jordan made the first move in the game, Bellfield said that was just what the Comets were expecting during the playoffs.

“We expected a tough game,” said Bellfield, who finished with 14 points in the game.

“They came out with a lot of confidence and that’s how you’re supposed to come out.”

Both teams slowed down on offense as the defense picked up in the second quarter.

Westchester held Jordan scoreless until 3:43 remained in the quarter, allowing the Comets to charge back and take their first lead at 34-33 on a wide-open, one-handed dunk by freshman Dwayne Polee.

But the Bulldogs managed to retake the narrow edge at 36-35 before halftime after a three-point shot by senior Lavon Myers, who finished with 17 points in the game.

After the two teams traded shots early in the third quarter, Westchester jumped out to a six-point lead, but Jordan came back with a minute remaining, on the heels of a ten-point effort by sophomore James Boyd, who finished with a game-high 20 points.

But with only 50 seconds remaining, the Comets went into playoff-mode with an 8-0 run, which included back-to-back three pointers by senior Isaiah Jenkins and Dubois, to take a 61-52 lead into the final quarter.

Jordan fought back to within three points with over four minutes remaining in the game, but was unable to overtake the lead, as the Westchester defense stepped up and forced turnovers by the Bulldogs in the final minutes.

The Comets took advantage, as Jenkins, who led the team with 15 points in the game, put Westchester ahead 71-62, sealing the playoff victory.