With a sellout crowd watching in Lake Balboa and a top four seeding in the City Section Open Division playoffs on the line, Birmingham responded with a 72-65 overtime win over Taft to take a major step toward winning the West Valley League championship on Monday night.
Corey Cofield, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, scored 24 points and had 15 rebounds to lead the Patriots (13-10, 5-0). He scored six points in overtime. His free throw with 6.5 seconds left in regulation sent the game into overtime. He had missed the first free throw.
“After I missed, it was not going to happen again,” Cofield said.
The two teams combined to make 24 threes. Taft (15-6, 3-1) couldn’t hold on to a 11-point lead in the second half. Khalil Haywood scored 21 points, Demetrius Calip 18 and Brandon Wilson 16 for Taft. Tyrese Windham had 21 points and David Elliott 17 for Birmingham, which is in position to get the No. 3 seed in the Open Division. Birmingham is also expected to get back Cofield’s older brother, Elisha, who has had a broken finger.
In the Western League, Fairfax defeated Hamilton 86-46. Luis Romero scored 21 points. University defeated Venice 49-46. David Cheatom had 15 points. Westchester defeated Palisades 61-50.
Crenshaw stayed unbeaten in the Coliseum League with a 70-40 win over Dorsey.
In the Baseline League, Etiwanda stayed unbeaten with an 84-47 win over Upland. Jahmai Mashack had 22 points.
Jaxen Turner scored 32 points in Rancho Verde’s 77-38 win over Temescal Canyon.
Riverside Poly defeated JW North 58-20. Lamont Butler scored 14 points.
Tesoro coach Steve Garrett picked up his 300th career win in a 76-44 victory over San Juan Hills.
Bishop Montgomery won its seventh straight Del Rey League championship with a 59-50 win over St. Anthony. Josh Vazquez scored 27 points. Gianni Hunt added 16 points.
Washington Prep defeated King-Drew 70-43.