Roundup: After long wait, City Section basketball teams finally start playing

Westchester basketball players stretch on the court before their first game of the season Friday.
Westchester basketball players stretch before their first game of the season Friday. The defending City Section Open Division champion Comets won 65-51 over Venice.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Westchester basketball coach Ed Azzam, the winningest coach in City Section history, reached the point during the COVID-19 shutdown that he needed to find a new hobby to escape boredom, so he started building ukuleles in the garage for family members. He built 30. It’s fun for him, but on Friday, he finally returned to his real passion: coaching basketball.

The defending City Section Open Division champion Comets opened their season with a 65-51 victory over Venice. Nothing has been normal over the last year. Westchester spent two weeks practicing on outside asphalt until finally being cleared to go into the gym earlier this week. Then, after Friday’s win, players were sent to the Forum to get COVID-19 tests so they will be cleared to play again Saturday against Reseda Cleveland.

Westchester basketball coach Ed Azzam is making ukuleles.
(Courtesy of the Azzam family)

Westchester returns veteran guards in Zion Sutton and TJ Wainwright. Sutton scored 20 points and Wainwright 15. John Stewart added 12 points. Devin Johnson scored 16 points for Venice.

“I did not think this day would come, but I’m super excited,” Wainwright said before the game. “Whatever is going to happen, bring it on.”

Westchester is scheduled to play 10 more regular-season games over the next three weeks, then enter the playoffs. Azzam was sounding a lot louder than usual from the bench because he was trying to be heard while wearing a black mask. He also was pointing out things to players that should have been part of their muscle memory by now with a regular practice schedule.

“We haven’t had a chance to teach enough,” Azzam said.

Crenshaw 71, Gardena 68: Kevin Bradley scored 38 points for the Cougars.

Grant 70, Taft 55: Aviv Hazan made seven threes and finished with 35 points for the Lancers.

Palisades 72, University 54: Avery Lee led Palisades with 24 points. Jaden Peters scored 25 points for University.

Etiwanda 56, Damien 53: Darvelle Wyatt made an open three at the buzzer, giving the Eagles (6-0) the dramatic victory. Malik Thomas scored 34 points for Damien (20-2). Wyatt and Marcus Green each had 15 points for Etiwanda.

Colony 72, Glendora 55: The Titans improved to 13-1 and 6-0. Brenton Knapper scored 27 points, and Jaidyn Simpson added 22.

Loyola 61, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame 56: Outgoing coach Jamal Adams, in what could be his final Loyola home game, got to celebrate behind Jalen Cox, who scored 16 points.

Chaminade 84, St. Francis 70: The Eagles (12-1, 8-1) received 30 points from KJ Simpson and 26 points from Keith Higgins.

Valencia 81, Saugus 80: Noah Veluzat finished with 43 points in the overtime win.

St. John Bosco 56, Santa Margarita 48: The Braves avenged one of their two defeats. Lemaj Lewis had 17 points.

Mater Dei 68, JSerra 57: The Monarchs improved to 17-0. Wilhelm Breidenbach had 21 points and Nick Davidson 20.

Orange Lutheran 63, Servite 56: Andrew Cook scored 31 points for Servite.

Oak Park 75, Camarillo 52: Seshsha Henderson scored 28 points.

Sierra Canyon 79, Crossroads 55; Amari Bailey scored 32 points for the unbeaten Trailblazers.


Brentwood 54, Windward 46: The Eagles won their fifth game in a row. Thomas Oosterbroek scored 18 points and had 11 rebounds and Cameron MacDonald added 16 points. Brandon Richard scored 19 points for Windward.

Campbell Hall 78, Viewpoint 69: Giovanni Goree had 35 points for Viewpoint. Kyle Beedon led Campbell Hall with 25 points.

San Clemente 51, Capistrano Valley 44: The Tritons pulled off the upset South Coast League win.

Westlake 68, Calabasas 51: Jacob Davis scored 17 points for Westlake.

Girls’ basketball

El Camino Real 56, Brentwood 43: Gaby Quintana scored 19 points for the Conquistadores.

Hamilton 53, LACES 51: Sydney Blevins scored 20 points for Hamilton.


JSerra 7, Santa Margarita 1: The streaking Lions completed a three-game sweep of Santa Margarita and won their 12th consecutive game. Gage Jump and Luke Jewett each had two hits and two RBIs. David Horn struck out nine in five innings.

West Ranch 6, Hart 4: West Ranch broke a 4-4 tie with two runs in the sixth. Malaqui Soqui hit a three-run home run for Hart.

Ayala 16, Claremont 3: Jacob Badawi had three hits and five RBIs.

Temecula Valley 10, Vista Murrieta 2: Gavin Grutzmacher finished with three hits and five RBIs.

Beckman 8, Portola 6: Paul Murrow contributed three hits and five RBIs, including two home runs.

Trabuco Hills 7, Aliso Niguel 4: Drew Barrett finished with four hits and two RBIs.

Mission Viejo 6, El Toro 1: David Mendoza threw a complete game, striking out four.

Etiwanda 7, Los Osos 3: Jack Holman had three hits and two RBIs.

Sylmar 10, Van Nuys 0: Frank Garcia struck out nine and also hit a grand slam.

Cypress 5, Crean Lutheran 1: Christian Thompson had a home run for Cypress.

Capistrano Valley 9, Dana Hills 4: Mason McGwire had a home run and four RBIs.

Crespi 8, Loyola 4: Nico Azpilcueta had three hits for the Celts.

Bishop Alemany 4, Chaminade 2: Luke Gambos had two RBIs for Alemany. He also struck out four in four innings.

Villa Park 8, El Modena 2: Benny Vogel threw a complete game, and Zach Brown added two hits and four RBIs.

Damien 19, Upland 9: Kaden Moeller went five for six with four RBIs.

Bonita 6, Glendora 0: Luke Mistone struck out 12 in six innings. He also had three hits.

Garden Grove Pacific a 7, La Palma Kennedy 0: Aidan Colin threw the shutout.

Mira Costa 6, Culver City 5: Dylan Knowles, Robert Love and Connor Meidroth each had two hits.

Burroughs 2, Crescenta Valley 0: Aiden Cremarosa threw the shutout and had a two-run double.


Paul Knox announced he is ending his coaching career after spending the last five years as head coach at Washington Prep. He was head coach at Dorsey from 1985 through 2014 and is a member of the City Section Hall of Fame. He will be replaced by Arthur Johnson at Washington Prep.