City Section basketball is on the rise

Eric Sondheimer
Contact ReporterVarsity Times Insider

The biggest surprise in the first month of the high school basketball season is the rise of City Section teams.

Taft is 7-1 in the return of Derrick Taylor as coach. Washington (4-4) has wins over Loyola and Orange Lutheran. Birmingham (5-3) has a star in the making in Devante Doutrive, who keeps scoring in the 30s. Fairfax (5-0) and Westchester (4-3) are as good as advertised. Dorsey (4-3) and El Camino Real (4-3) have held their own against top opponents. Narbonne (2-2) will soon get a lift from football players arriving.

Even the non-Division I teams are playing well. Lincoln is 6-0. South Gate is 5-3. Central City has a senior guard, Joel Finney, who's averaging 33 points.

It's going to be pretty easy picking eight teams for the Open Division playoffs. The improved depth should help with other divisions.

A big development was the debut of Donald Gipson for Fairfax last week. He had knee surgery following his injury last March. He scored 14 points against Venice, including four threes. A healthy Gipson is good news for the Lions, who leave Wednesday for a tournament in Hawaii.

Taft could be the most dangerous team, because several new players will be joining the team in January. What you can say is that Taylor doesn't need a whole lot of time to make an impact, especially when he has a point guard the caliber of sophomore Kihei Clark, MVP of the Beverly Hills tournament.

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