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PREP BASKETBALL ROUNDUP : Westchester Stuns Louisville, Wins Vegas Cage Tournament

Times Staff Writer

Westchester High center Zan Mason showed again Wednesday night why he is considered one of the premier juniors in the nation.

In what may have been the best game of his career, Mason scored 33 points and grabbed 9 rebounds to lead the Comets over Ballard High of Louisville, 74-70, in the championship game of the Las Vegas Holiday Prep Basketball Classic at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

The 6-foot-7 Mason made 16 of 19 field goal attempts, including a key basket with 1:24 left to play that gave the Comets a 73-67 lead. Westchester (12-0) had led by as many as 17 points in the first half.

“He’s a big, strong kid who had his way with us,” said Ballard assistant coach Terry Howard, whose team fell to 11-2.

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Mason was named most valuable player of the prestigious tournament. Junior point guard Sam Crawford, who added 15 points for the Comets, was named to the all-tournament team, as was James Moses of Serra.

Westchester took a 39-22 lead in the first half, but the Comets were hurt by poor free-throw shooting down the stretch. They made only 1 of 4 foul shots in the final minute.

This is the Comets’ second straight tournament title. They won the Tournament of Champions at Cal Poly Pomona two weeks ago.

Westchester reached the Las Vegas finals with a 68-64 victory Tuesday night over Ramsay High of Birmingham, Ala.

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The tournament attracted 29 teams from across the nation, including three ranked in USA Today’s Super 25. It is the largest prep holiday tournament in the country.

Carson 74, Esperanza 63--Forwards Damon Estell and Stephen Smith scored 18 and 12 points to lead the Colts (9-2) in the third-place game of the Canyon Tournament in Anaheim. Smith, one of Carson’s top players, returned to the lineup after missing a 58-56 semifinal loss to Lynwood because of the flu.

Morningside 76, Culver City 64--Kevin Lilley, a 6-4, 205-pound senior forward, scored a game-high 31 points to help the Monarchs (8-5) take third place in the Palisades Tournament at Pepperdine University. Lilley was named to the all-tournament team. Eddie Scott, a 6-6 junior forward, added 15 points for Morningside.

El Cerrito (Oakland) 65, Chadwick 52--Senior forward Charlton Jackson had 20 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in a losing effort for the Dolphins (3-7) in the consolation final of the Chet Carlisle Classic at Redwood High. Guard Mike Faller added 16 points for Chadwick.

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