Bort Escoto has everyone right where he wants them. Last season, the Sylmar coach was upset that his team was seeded No. 9 for the City Section Division I playoffs. The Spartans used their seeding as motivation to win the title.
Now the Spartans (18-14) are once again a No. 9 seed and started the Division I playoffs with an impressive 87-61 rout of Sun Valley Poly on Thursday night. Dayquan Williams scored 25 points. Freshman Ricky Jaime had 12 points.
Next up for the Spartans is a Saturday road test against top-seeded Fremont.
Sylmar is bidding for its third consecutive City title, having won Division II in 2014.
"We played as a team," Escoto said. "If we keep playing as a team, we might three-peat."
Angel Reinosa led Poly (13-15) with 15 points.
No. 12-seeded University upset No. 5 Grant, 75-71. Kevin Javier scored 24 points for University. Chad Holloway led Grant with 38 points. Will Johnson scored 24 points in Palisades' 62-45 win over San Pedro. University will be at Crenshaw and Palisades at Hamilton on Saturday. Gardena defeated Chatsworth, 49-44, and will play at View Park.
Williams forgot his uniform to the game. Or it was lost. Or it was stolen. He borrowed the No. 2 jersey of a teammate. In the old days, Escoto, in his 23rd season, would have benched him. But scoring 25 points gets him off the hook _ for now.
In Division II, No. 2-seeded North Hollywood avoided an upset, holding off Reseda, 56-51. Sean Fernandez took charge in the fourth quarter and finished with 26 points.
Kennedy defeated Bell, 48-40, and will play at Bernstein, a 72-57 winner over Franklin. Marshall defeated Roosevelt, 53-38. Animo South Los Angeles defeated Garfield, 80-78.
Jose Velasquez scored 19 points and Sheldon Brookins added 12 points and 10 rebounds in South Gate's 76-47 win over Hollywood.