Compton Centennial upsets defending champion Harvard-Westlake

Deonte Burton scored 24 points and teammates Kevin Smith and Thomas Hammock each added 15 as host Compton Centennial upset defending champion Harvard-Westlake, 78-70, in a semifinal game of the Southern Section Division 3A boys’ basketball playoffs Friday night at Lynwood High.

The third-seeded Apaches (25-5) trailed, 39-34 at halftime and 56-52 after three quarters, but rallied to take a 65-63 lead on a layup by Kurt Davis with 3:18 remaining.

Davis finished with 11 points and put the game out of reach when he rebounded a desperation three-pointer from the corner by Harvard-Westlake guard Austin Kelly and dribbled the length of the court for a dunk to put Centennial ahead, 76-68, with 15 seconds left.

Erik Swoope had 15 of his 24 points in the second half for Harvard-Westlake, which took a 21-18 lead after the first quarter on Nate Bulluck’s steal and layup at the buzzer. Damiene Cain had 19 points and Bulluck added 10 for the second-seeded Wolverines (25-5).

Kelly finished with 12 points, including both of Harvard-Westlake’s three-point baskets. The Wolverines made just 11 of 20 free throws while Centennial converted 18 of its 23 attempts.

Hammock made five of Centennial’s 11 three-pointers and David Turner’s back-to-back threes gave the Apaches their first lead of the second half with 1:52 left in the third quarter.

Centennial will play top-seeded Gardena Serra (29-2) in the championship game next Saturday at the Honda Center in Anaheim. Serra defeated fourth-seeded Gahr, 81-60, in Friday’s other semifinal.