High School Sports

Palisades rolls to another City Section crown

Palisades rolls to another City Section crown
Palisades’ Kayla Williams (left) gets airborne for a layup against El Camino Real during the City Section Open Division girls basketball final on March 5.
(Craig Weston / For The Times)

For a program that thrives on competition, Palisades certainly didn’t get much in this year’s City Section girls’ playoffs.

The Dolphins completed an impressive postseason with a 65-44 blowout of Woodland Hills El Camino Real to repeat as Open Division champions Saturday at Cal State Dominguez Hills. Having achieved their first goal, the next is to make some noise in the Southern California Regionals.

Palisades improved to 36-1 against City opponents over the last two seasons, the only blemish being a 65-62 loss to Legacy in January that was avenged by 40 points in last week’s semifinals.

Kayla Merrill-Gillett had 23 points, five steals and four assists, Chelsey Gipson had 15 points and Liz Newman and Sammy Spanier each 10 points for the third-seeded Dolphins (24-8), who won their fourth City title in six years under head coach Torino Johnson.


El Camino Real was held without a point from late in the first quarter to early in the third, getting outscored 25-0 over a span of 11 minutes, 14 seconds. Kianna Hamilton-Fisher scored nine points and Orelle Gelbart added even for the fourth-seeded Conquistadores (24-9), who trailed 32-12 at halftime.

Earlier, Monica Garcia scored 30 points, including the decisive free throws, to lead Garfield to a 58-55 overtime victory against defending champion Westchester in the Division I final. Candy Perez added 16 points for the top-seeded Bulldogs (24-8), who won the Division II title last year. Erianna Gowdy and Heyavin Johnson made back-to-back three-pointers in the last eight seconds of regulation and Destiny Brown scored 20 points for the third-seeded Comets (20-14).

In the Division III final, Clarissa Rodriguez scored 19 points and Isabel Lizaraga added nine points, eight assists and five steals as top-seeded South Gate (22-11) defeated Sotomayor 42-32 to win its first City title. Alexandra Ruvalcaba scored 15 points and Monica Hernandez had 13 for 11th-seeded Sotomayor (14-16).

In the Southern Section, West Hills Chaminade won its second consecutive Open Division girls’ title with a 72-63 upset victory over No. 1-seeded Long Beach Poly at Azusa Pacific.


Duke-bound Leaonna Odom led a Chaminade surge in the second quarter, scoring 17 of her 23 points to help the Eagles take a 47-31 halftime lead.

USC-bound Valerie Higgins finished with 21 points.

Now Chaminade will try to do something it didn’t accomplish last season -- win the Southern California Regionals to earn a trip to Sacramento to play for a state championship.

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