City girls basketball roundup: Palisades beats Narbonne, 60-56

Palisades girls hold off a furious Narbonne rally for City Section Open Division championship

There wasn't a trace of pink in Narbonne's uniforms Saturday night in the City Section Open Division final, but in the end the Gauchos saw too much Palisades blue.

The Dolphins held off a furious Narbonne rally in the fourth quarter to win, 60-56, in a rematch of last year's Division I semifinal. Kayla Merrill-Gillett scored 20 points, Chelsey Gipson had 15, and Bianca King added 14 as Palisades extended its winning streak to 20 games.

"There was a lot of pressure, but you have to stay calm and keep positive energy," Merrill-Gillett said. "We moved the ball really well, and we played great team defense."

The top-seeded Gauchos (23-6) used a 13-0 run to take a 47-45 lead, but Gipson banked in a three-pointer to put the second-seeded Dolphins (23-10) back in front with 3:25 left.

Narbonne pulled to within a point with one minute to go, but Merrill-Gillett was fouled with 10.9 seconds left and swished both free throws to make it 60-56. The Gauchos lost the ball on their ensuing possession.

Narbonne was removed from the playoffs for wearing illegal uniforms in its semifinal victory over View Park, but the Gauchos filed an appeal and were allowed to play in the final, although Coach Victoria Sanders was suspended. Boys' Coach Anthony Hilliard coached in her place Saturday.

"I was thrilled playing Narbonne," said Palisades Coach Torino Johnson, who led the Dolphins to Division II titles in 2011 and 2012. "There's nothing better than having the opportunity to play the best."

Westchester wins

In the Division I final, sophomore guard Bri Anugwom scored 18 points as Westchester held off a furious fourth-quarter rally to beat Los Angeles Bell, 50-43.

It was Westchester's first City title since winning Division 4A in 1988 and the third Division I championship for Comets Coach Marcel Sanders, who led Carson to back-to-back crowns in 2010-11.

The second-seeded Comets (19-13) led by 16 points midway through the third quarter, but the Eagles shaved their deficit to seven points on a layup by Daisy Sanchez with 3:32 left. Erianna Gowdy sank a three-pointer to put Westchester up 49-39 with 2:18 remaining.

Garfield earns title

In the Division II final, Monica Garcia finished with 24 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists to lead Los Angeles Garfield to its first-ever City title with a 39-33 victory over Eagle Rock. The second-seeded Bulldogs (24-10) used an 8-0 run to take a 29-23 lead, but Eagle Rock pulled to within 29-27 after three quarters. The score was tied 19-19 at halftime.

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