City Section basketball playoff pairings set; Taft is No. 1 in boys

Sophomore David Mack of Fairfax tries to drive past a Westchester defender.
David Mack of Fairfax tries to drive past a Westchester defender during a Western League game. The Lions and the Comets are two of the eight Open Division playoff teams.
(Nick Koza)

In a season that has had pauses, upsets and uncertainties, the City Section finally released its basketball and soccer playoff pairings Saturday. They were delayed by one week to give teams the chance to make up games postponed because of COVID-19 issues. Now it’s full speed ahead with two weeks of nonstop action leading to championship games.

Woodland Hills Taft, which finished in a tie for first place in the West Valley League with Lake Balboa Birmingham and Woodland Hills El Camino Real, received the No. 1 seed in the eight-team Open Division boys’ basketball tournament that begins Friday. Fairfax, which twice paused its season and played only 19 games, is seeded No. 2 after an overtime win Friday night against Venice to decide the Western League championship.

“Hold on to your seats, because I think anyone can win this darn thing,” Taft coach Derrick Taylor said. “It’s the first time I’ve been in this tournament where all eight seeds are vulnerable. It’s must-see TV.”


Taft will have to face always competitive No. 8 Harbor City Narbonne in its opener. No. 7 El Camino Real will play at Fairfax. No. 5 King/Drew will be at No. 4 Palisades and No. 6 Birmingham will be at No. 3 Venice.

Westchester received the No. 1 seed in Division I, with Gardena No. 2.

In the Open Division girls’ basketball playoffs, Granada Hills is seeded No. 1, Birmingham No. 2, Palisades No. 3 and Westchester No. 4.

There’s a historic matchup in Division II boys, where two women head coaches, Brooke Kalama of Roybal and Jennifer Crockett of Sherman Oaks CES, will face off in a first-round game Tuesday.

In boys’ soccer, El Camino Real was given the No. 1 seed for Division I after defeating defending champion Birmingham 3-1 earlier this week to win the West Valley League. The Patriots are No. 2.

In girls’ soccer, Reseda Cleveland gained the No. 1 seed for Division I by winning the West Valley League championship. El Camino Real is No. 2.