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High School Sports

Jane Nwaba leads Palisades into City girls’ basketball final

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Jane Nwaba of Palisades scored 15 points to help the Dolphins defeat Granada Hills to advance to the City Section Open Division girls’ championship game.
(Steve Galluzzo / For The Times)

Jane Nwaba is the youngest of six siblings that include NBA player David Nwaba and track standout Barbara Nwaba. She’s so good athletically that Pepperdine gave her a basketball scholarship even though she rarely played club basketball over the last four seasons.

Nwaba showed off her skills on Saturday night at L.A. Southwest College, scoring 15 points to help Palisades defeat Granada Hills 46-43 in a semifinal game of the City Section Open Division girls’ basketball playoffs. Palisades will play Western League rival Hamilton in the final next Saturday at 5 p.m.

“I’m the youngest. I feel they’re pushing me the most,” Nwaba said of her brothers and sisters.

Leena Vo led Granada Hills with 16 points. The Highlanders almost overcame an 11-point deficit after three quarters.

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In the other semifinal, Kennedee Rankin put on a show, scoring 28 points to help Hamilton defeat West Valley League champion Woodland Hills El Camino Real 60-38.

The 5-foot-11 Rankin is a four-year starter who led Hamilton to the Division II title in 2018. The Yankees finished second to Palisades in the Western League this season.

“She’s a dominant force,” coach Sherland Chensam said. “When she’s at her best, it’s hard to stop her.”

In the Southern Section Open Division, Los Angeles Windward advanced to Friday’s championship game at The Pyramid with a 52-41 win over Long Beach Poly. Freshman Juju Watkins scored 23 points for the Wildcats, who went 3-0 in pool play. Simone Morris scored 13 points for Poly.

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Windward will play Santa Ana Mater Dei in the championship game. The Monarchs survived an overtime thriller, defeating Chatsworth Sierra Canyon 61-60. If Mater Dei had lost, Etiwanda would have advanced to the final because of a 57-52 win over Lynwood.

Alyssa Frescas and Brooke Demetre each scored 16 points for Mater Dei.

In Division 1, Studio City Harvard-Westlake advanced to the final with a 64-49 win over West Torrance. Sophomore Kiki Iriafen, one of the top young players in the Southland, finished with 31 points. Harvard-Westlake will play Fullerton Troy, a 59-52 winner over Riverside King, in the final.

Loyola, Servite advance in soccer: Longtime Division 1 powers Los Angeles Loyola and Anaheim Servite won their semifinal soccer matches on Saturday and will meet next Saturday at Downey Warren High in the final. Loyola defeated Mission Viejo 3-0. Servite defeated L.A. Cathedral on penalty kicks 3-2 after a 0-0 deadlock through regulation and overtime. Uriel Sanchez scored the decisive goal.


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