De’Andre Daniels leads Taft over Serra
Whenever his team needed a basket, De’Andre Daniels delivered.
The Woodland Hills Taft junior scored 28 points, including four three-pointers, as the Toreadors rode a fast start to a wire-to-wire, 71-64 victory over Gardena Serra in the showcase game of the State Preview Classic on Saturday night at Fairfax High.
Daniels, who has committed to Texas, dunked off an alley-oop pass from Bryce Jones to give Taft (17-3), ranked No. 8 in the Southland by The Times, a quick 9-0 lead.
A steal and layup by Marquise Lee and a putback by Utah State-bound Vaughn Autry pulled No. 4 Serra (22-2) to within 39-32 at halftime and the Cavaliers crept to within four points midway through the third quarter, but that was as close as Serra got.
Leading by six, Taft opened the fourth quarter on a 9-4 run in which Daniels made consecutive three-pointers and a dunk.
Pierson Williams added 14 points, including four three-pointers in the second half, and Jones added 11 for Taft, which won its eighth consecutive game since a 75-61 loss to No. 7 Corona Centennial on Dec. 30.
Autry scored 23 points and Lee added 13 for Serra, whose winning streak came to an end at 19 games. The Cavaliers had not lost since a 58-54 defeat to No. 3 Long Beach Poly in the finals of the Redondo Tournament.
In an earlier game Saturday, senior guard Allen Crabbe had 38 points, including five in overtime, as Los Angeles Price came from behind to beat Crenshaw, 90-86.
Price junior Askia Booker banked in a three-pointer from the top of the key to tie the score, 75-75, with 20 seconds left in regulation.
Crenshaw’s Jawan Thomas missed a game-winning three-point try at the buzzer to force a four-minute overtime.
The Knights (21-2), ranked No. 5 by The Times, trailed by seven points with 3:35 left in the third quarter, but scored 11 of the next 14 points to take a 57-56 lead on a goaltending violation with 57 seconds left in the quarter.
Senior Reynaul Baker scored 33 points for the 18th-ranked Cougars (13-3), who had won 11 consecutive games since back-to-back losses to Compton Centennial and Peninsula at the Westchester Tip-Off Classic in early December.