King/Drew reaches City Open Division semifinals by defeating Taft
Lloyd Webster was beaming. The third-year basketball coach at King/Drew Medical Magnet understands his team is making history with each playoff victory in the City Section Open Division.
“King/Drew is the new basketball dominant school on the South side of Los Angeles,” he said Friday night after the Golden Eagles earned their first trip to the Open Division semifinals with a 73-57 victory over Woodland Hills Taft.
King/Drew (22-7) won a Division II championship in 2018 but now finds itself playing with the big boys. The other three teams making it to next Saturday’s semifinals at L.A. Southwest College are former champions Fairfax, Westchester and Lake Balboa Birmingham. King/Drew will play Westchester at 6 p.m., then Fairfax takes on Birmingham at 8.
“They’re really good,” Taft coach Derrick Taylor said of King/Drew.
The Golden Eagles won the Coliseum League championship and might have the City player of the year in 6-foot-6 senior Fidelis Okereke, who contributed 22 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocks.
“He was fantastic,” Taylor said. “We couldn’t match up with him.”
“He was phenomenal,” Webster said.
King/Drew had a three-point halftime lead, then made its first six shots of the third quarter to surge to a 15-point advantage. Eric Peacock, benefiting from Taft’s focus on trying to stop Okereke inside, scored 12 of his 17 points in the quarter. Sophomore guard Kalib LaCount came through with six consecutive points in the fourth quarter when Taft, the West Valley League champion, tried to make a comeback. He finished with 16 points.
“People think we can’t shoot until they play us at home and then we knock down shots because of all the energy in the gym,” Webster said.
Is King/Drew gaining respect?
“Not yet,” Peacock said. “We have to win it all. Then they’ll respect us.”
Ramel Lloyd scored 31 points for Taft.
Fairfax advanced with a 93-48 victory over El Camino Real. Keith Dinwiddie scored 30 points. Westchester defeated Washington Prep 71-51.
Patriots pick up 70-58 win over Gardena; Etiwanda wins its Open Division game
In Southern Section Open Division pool play, No. 7-seeded Santa Ana Mater Dei pulled off the upset of the night, defeating No. 2 Corona Centennial in overtime 66-58. With Devin Askew in foul trouble, Aidan Prukop scored 22 points for the Monarchs. Nick Davidson added 15 points.
No. 1-seeded Chatsworth Sierra Canyon opened with a 67-39 win over Bellflower St. John Bosco. Terren Frank scored 19 points. Temecula Rancho Christian defeated Studio City Harvard-Westlake 67-62. Brase Dottin made six three-pointers and scored 20 points for Harvard-Westlake.
In Division 1, Devin Tillis scored 23 points to help No. 1-seeded Los Angeles Windward defeat Cypress 68-59. Windward will play at Lakewood Mayfair on Tuesday in the quarterfinals.
In 2-AA, sophomore Skyy Clark scored a career-high 48 points to help North Hills Heritage Christian defeat Mission Viejo 87-80.
Sherman Oaks Notre Dame knocked off Ontario Colony 70-64. Sophomore Ben Shtolzberg scored 27 points. The Knights have made 438 three-pointers as a team, a state record.
Longtime football coach Manuel Douglas, who guided the Gauchos to eight City Section titles since 2002, will resign and drop his lawsuit against LAUSD.
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