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Westchester tops Granada Hills for City Open Division girls’ basketball title

Granada Hills center Emma Perez blocks a shot by Westchester guard Ron’yae Jackson in the Open Division championship game.
(Steve Galluzzo / For The Times)
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All season the Granada Hills and Westchester girls; basketball teams had been on a collision course. They finally met for City Section supremacy Saturday night at Pasadena City College and neither side gave an inch in a championship showdown that lived up to the hype.

The teams traded baskets for 3½ quarters but over the final four minutes the second-seeded Comets’ size took over and they capitalized on Granada Hills’ foul trouble to pull away with clutch free throws and gritty defense to claim their first Open Division title and fifth overall with a 51-44 victory.

“We stayed together, we did what the coaches told us to do and we proved we’re No. 1,” said Westchester junior forward Mariah Blake, who led the Comets with 20 points. “Our plan was to stay in attack mode. We practiced boxing out and that’s what we did.”

Senior guard Rylei Waugh had 11 points, senior center Anyse Grimble had eight, senior guard Ron’yae Jackson added six and sophomore guard Reigne Waugh also had six for Westchester, which held top-seeded Granada Hills (25-5) to three points in the final 4:08.

Junior point guard Marianne Boco, who came into the contest averaging 16 points per game, scored the Highlanders’ first eight points of the first half and their first nine of the second half. Her three-pointer at the buzzer gave Granada Hills a 16-13 lead after one quarter and by the time Boco fouled out with 53.6 seconds left she had netted 29 points.

“She’s very talented — I’ll give her that,” Blake said of Boco.

Hannah Lising has 35 points and Alyssa Jaime makes a critical free throw in double overtime to lift the Parrots past LACES for City Division I title.

Feb. 25, 2023

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Guard Alex Arias made a free throw, missed the second but got her own rebound and put it in to pull the Highlanders within 49-44 with 20.7 seconds left, but Waugh made a pair of free throws with 13.1 seconds left to put the game out of reach.

Both teams entered the game without a loss to a City opponent and the Comets (29-1) finished that way. Their only loss was by one point in overtime to Bonita Vista in the MLK Showcase on Jan. 16.

“This was our goal from the start of the season,” said Blake, who staked her team to a 21-20 lead at halftime and a 37-35 lead after three quarters.

Westchester, which upset Granada Hills in the semifinals before falling to Lake Balboa Birmingham in the finals last year, captured its second crown in six seasons under coach Dominic Grimes, who guided the Comets to the Division I title in 2020. The Comets won the 4A title in 1988 and Division I titles in 2015 and 2017, all under different coaches.

In the Division I final earlier Saturday, guard Hannah Lising scored 35 points to lead Sun Valley Poly to a 67-64 overtime victory over LACES. Alyssa Jaime stole the ball, got fouled and made the second of two free throws to put Poly up by three with 7.1 seconds left. The Unicorns had a chance to force double overtime but did not get a shot off in time.

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