The South Bay continued to be the dominating area in the Southern California Regional boys' and girls' basketball playoffs as seven teams advanced to the semifinals, which will all be played tonight at 7 p.m.
Two are those are in the boys' division with all-area finals between Westchester and host Redondo in the prestigious Open Division and a Division IV final between Gardena Serra and host Bishopn Montgomery in Torrance.
The Comets, who narrowly missed winning theirsecond consecutive and 12th overall CIF-Los Angeles City Division I title with a 58-56 loss to Woodland Hills El Camino Real on March 8 at L.A. Southwest Community College, started out with an impressive 79-61 victory over No. 2 seed J.W. North in Riverside, while No. 3 seed and host Redondo pulled away from CIF-San Diego Section Open Divisin champion Carlsbad La Costa Canyon, 71-51, last Saturday.
It will be a match-up between long time head coach Ed Azzam of Westchester and one of his former players, Reggie Morris, Jr. when the Comets visit Redondo tonight. Morris was a reserve guard under Azzam during his junior season in 1994-95, before playing his senior season for his father, Reggie Morris, St., at Locke High in southeast L.A. in 1995-96.
The Sea Hawks own one victory over Westchester, 65-64, in the Redondo Pacific Shores Tournament championship semifinals on Nov. 29. Redondo rallied from a 15-point third quarter deficit, behind senior guard Ian Fox. The Sea Hawks, who have not lost a home game since late December of 2012, went on to win that classic with a nailbiting 64-63 wiin over Lakewood Mayfair a day later.
Redondo knows that the Comets, coming off their inspired victory over a very good Husky squad, will be fired up trying to avenge the earlier one-point defeat to the Sea Hawks but Fox feels confident.
"Morris will come out with a game plan," Fox said. "We need to play hard and control the boards."
The winner will play either Santa Ana Mater Dei, the top ranked team in the United States by most prep sports publications and writers, or Etiwanda for the Southern California crown at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario Saturday at 8 p.m. for the right to travel to Sacramento to play for the California state championship on March 29 at the Sleep Train Arena.
With 10 days off after Redondo lost in the CIF-Southern Section Open Division semifinals to host Chino Hills, 70-61, on March 4, the Sea Hawks led virtually the entiref game against La Costa Canyon. Leading by seven (50-43) after three quarters, the Sea Hawks broke the game open by outscoring the Mavericks, 21-8, in the final period.
Fox led Redondo (25-5) with a game-high 25 points. Redondo had three other players score in double figures wtih junior Cameron High adding 13 points, sophomore guard Cameron Williams chipping in 14 and senior center Terrell Carter contributing 10.
"La Costa Canyon was a very good gteam but we played hard on defense," Fox said. "We had to match their intensity."
La Costa Canyon, which ended its season at 28-6, was led by Brady Twombly with 20 points.
Westchester got hot inits easy win over J.W. North. It convertd on nine three-point baskets as it led by as many as 31 points.
Loyola-Marymount University-bound Elijah Stewart sparked the Comets with 24 points, including three three-point baskets. Cameron Young finished with 18 points. Akil Hall-Reese had 16 points and Nick Hamilton put in 11.
The Huskies' Deshon Taylor led all scorers with 31 points, much of those in the fourth quarter when the Comets already had the contest put away.
The two Del Rey League Catholic school rivals have a long history of games and thwy will show down in the Regional Division IV semifinals tonight.
Each team split their two games with road wins. Serra won at Bishop Montgomery, 71-70, on Jan. 22, but on Feb. 7, the Knights returned the favor in winning at Serra, 65-51.
Both teams played inthe Southern California Regional Open Division. Bishop Montgomery advanced to the consolation final before falling to host Sierra Canyon, 66-62, on March 7 in Chatsworth. Sierra Canyon is the top seed in the region Division IV and could face either team for the crown on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Colony High in Ontario.
Serra lost both of its Open Division games to host Corona Centennial, 81-71, on Feb. 28 and at home to Sierra Canyon, 53-45, on March 4.
The Cavaliers, however, took advantage of being moved back to Division IV as they opened with an easy 76-43 win over CIF-Central Section Division IV champion Porterville Granite Hills on March 12,then downed Mar Vista Windward, 67-52, on Saturday, both games at Serra. The Cavaliers are seeded third in the playoffs.
Six-foot-eight center Tavrion Dawson led Serra with 19 points apiece in each contest.
Bishop Montgomery, the No. 2 seed, had a first round bye before pulling away from Westlake Village Oaks Christian, 78-59, on Saturday at Bishop Montgomery.
Stephen Thompson, Jr. proved dominant with 32 po ints against the Lions.
Defending state Division IV champion Serra High's girls' basketball team is the top seed in Division IV and is on the road to another state title a fter coasting to a 70-55 victory over Anaheim Fairmont Prep in the quarterfinals last Saturday.
Serra hosts another Serra High of San Juan Capistrano in the semifinals tonight.
The winner plays either No. 2 Sierra Canyon or Mater Dei Catholic from Chula Vista for the title and a spot inthe state championship on March 29 ini Sacramento Saturday at 2 p.m. at Colony High.
In girls' division II action, No. 2 seed, Bay League and CIF-Southern Section Division IIA champion West Torrance, and No. 4 seed, Ocean League and Southern Section Division IIAA champion Culver City made the semis.
The Lady Warriors, who captured their first Southern Section title in the program's history, enjoyed an impressive 79-60 win over San Diego Section Division II champion La Costa Canyon on Saturday.
West will have a rematch with Placentia El Dorado, a 57-45 quarterfinal winner over Manhattan Beach Mira Costa, tonight at West.
The Lady Centaurs had a rough time with CIF-Central Section Division II champion Bakersfield Garces Memorial butg pulled out a 53-52 win Saturday at Culver.
The Centaurs trailed 16-5 after the first quarter but pecked away at their lead until Lindsey Tanita's three-pointer with 5:30 remaining in the game gave them the lead.
That highlighted Culver's 9-0 run to lead by as much as seven points. Garces attempted a run but the Centaurs held on.
Michelle Curry, a senior transfer from Playa del Rey St. Bernard, led Culver with 20 points. Tanita, a junior guard, tallied 10 points.
Six-foot-four center Celeste West led the Rams with 17 points.