Harvard-Westlake rolls past Sierra Canyon, which plays without two standouts

Sierra Canyon's Bronny James, middle, watches during the Trailblazers' loss to Harvard-Westlake on Jan. 20, 2023.
Sierra Canyon standout Bronny James, middle, watches from the bench during the Trailblazers’ 72-52 loss to host Harvard-Westlake on Friday night in Mission League play. James sat out to rest a knee injury.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The fans wearing red and black streamed in, chants of “Har-vard West-lake” rattling throughout the Wolverines’ gym in Studio City, for a Mission League matchup the Southland had been anticipating all season.

The students carried copies of their school newspaper, the Harvard-Westlake Chronicle. And during Sierra Canyon’s pregame introductions, the Wolverines fans held them over their faces, as if to say — in the paraphrasing of one student — they didn’t care what assortment of talent the Trailblazers had to offer.

Except two of their biggest stars weren’t in Sierra Canyon’s starting lineup.

Earlier Friday, Sierra Canyon coach Andre Chevalier texted head of school Jim Skrumbis that his two top scorers, senior Bronny James and junior Isaiah Elohim, were out because of injuries.


“If you want to take the night off and go to a nice dinner …” Chevalier texted, according to Skrumbis.

Bronny James is just starting to “see who he is” down the stretch of his senior season at Sierra Canyon High, according to head coach Andre Chevalier.

Jan. 20, 2023

Friday night was the biggest game of the season, a sold-out away crowd forming DMV-level lines outside the ticket booth that morning, anticipating a showdown between two of Los Angeles’ elite prep schools. But without James and Elohim, the game offered little intrigue beyond the first quarter in a 72-52 Harvard-Westlake win.

“It’s us against Sierra Canyon, not us against Bronny and Isaiah,” senior Brady Dunlap said.

The Wolverines made sure not to have a letdown, starting first when guard Trent Perry dribbled into a buzzer-beating three-pointer at the end of the first half to extend a lead to 34-20.

Eight minutes later, Dunlap pulled up over multiple Trailblazers to bank in a difficult three-pointer to end the third quarter.

Sierra Canyon's Majok Chuol (13, on floor) battles Harvard-Westlake's Nikolas Khamenia (4) and Christian Horry (15).
Sierra Canyon’s Majok Chuol (13, on the floor) battles Harvard-Westlake’s Nikolas Khamenia (4) and Christian Horry for the ball.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The Wolverines poured it on in the fourth quarter, Jacob Huggins finishing an alley-oop and Robert Hinton following with a slam during the next possession.

With a couple of minutes remaining, the student section serenaded Wolverines coach David Rebibo, who turned 39 on Friday, with a rendition of “Happy Birthday.”

Sierra Canyon, which normally prides itself on its crisp defensive rotations, looked defeated.

Fairfax defeated Westchester and Birmingham beat Taft in overtime Friday night in City Section rivalry basketball games.

Jan. 20, 2023

Dunlap made tough shots from the midrange and buried four three-pointers en route to 20 points. Perry added 15.

“They threw a little face-guard at me,” Dunlap said. “I give all the credit to my teammates for finding me.”

Senior Memphis commit Ashton Hardaway had six three-pointers and 20 points for Sierra Canyon, but it wasn’t enough. James, Sierra Canyon’s heartbeat and senior leader, was held out for a second consecutive game while resting a knee injury. Elohim, meanwhile, had a flare-up of a knee problem that sidelined him last season.


The Trailblazers looked timid offensively for much of the night without their two top scorers, Chevalier repeatedly jumping and screaming “shoot it!” at Sierra Canyon players who passed up open looks.

“You need Bron-ny!” chanted Harvard-Westlake fans at the start of the fourth quarter.

Sierra Canyon pulled it off without James against St. Francis on Wednesday. But the loss of James and Elohim against Harvard-Westlake proved too much.