It's three weeks into the prep basketball season, and Fairfax looks like the No. 1 team in the City Section for now. The Lions have only played in one tournament, El Segundo, and beat Loyola in the championship game.
The Lions resume action on Thursday with a Western League opener at home against Hamilton, which won't be playing any home games this season because its gym is under construction. There will be lots of tests ahead for Fairfax against top teams. The Lions are traveling to San Diego for the Torrey Pines tournament after Christmas. They have a Jan. 31 game against Sierra Canyon in their State Preview Classic. They have showdown games in the Western League against Westchester on Jan. 26 and Feb. 11. And they face Mater Dei in the Nike Extravaganza on Feb. 7.
There will be challengers to Fairfax. Defending Division I champion El Camino Real showed its potential by knocking off Westchester in the third-place game of the Beverly Hills tournament even tough the Conquistadores weren't at full strength. Keep your eyes on junior guard Brandon Russell, who continues to improve for the Conquistadores and seems headed for an All-City season.
Westchester will be strengthened in Janaury when Rancho Dominguez transfer Kevin Fisher becomes eligible and standout guard Akil Hall Reese returns from a knee injury.
Dorsey, led by guard Jon Staggers, lost in the championship game of the University tournament. Taft has excellent guards and could add a transfer or two after Jan. 5. Palisades owns a win over El Camino Real and can't be overlooked in the Western League.
On Monday, Crenshaw and Fremont play in a Coliseum League game, and the winner figures to compete with Dorsey for the league title.