Brandon Thomas of Woodland Hills Taft fits the perfect example of a late bloomer.
He remembers his early years on the basketball team as not playing much.
"It's hard to trust a little 5-7 kid," he said.
Then came a growth spurt. He stands nearly 6 feet 4 as a senior, and what a shooter he has become. He made seven threes on Wednesday night and finished with 32 points to help Taft defeat Birmingham, 75-67, in a game for first place in the West Valley League.
In the third quarter, when Birmingham had tied Taft, 37-37, Thomas suddenly took over. He scored 14 points in the quarter. Taft (20-4, 5-0) opened a 48-40 lead and never looked back.
Deschon Winston led Birmingham (16-5, 4-1) with 21 points. Adrian Bird-Jelinek had 16 points and Devante Doutrive, who picked up two quick fouls, finished with 15 points.
Thomas said new Coach Derrick Taylor has helped with his development.
"Coach opens the floor for us," he said. "I don't have to think as much, just play. You learn from mistakes. Before, I didn't learn much from mistakes."
Thomas' older brother, Michael, was an All-City player for El Camino Real and is now at Hawaii. And the way the little brother is playing, watch out.