King/Drew defeats LACES for Metropolis Part Open Division title

When the ultimate buzzer sounded, Josahn Webster set free a victory cry and seemed over at his father and coach, Lloyd Webster, who had a broad smile on his face. Father and son, coach and participant, led the King/Drew boys’ basketball group to the highest of the mountain — they usually had loads of individuals to share the second with.

Josahn, a sophomore guard, scored 18 factors and Jayshawn Kibble had 20 because the second-seeded Golden Eagles withstood each run by Los Angeles CES to win the Metropolis Part Open Division championship, 51-45, Saturday night time at Pasadena Metropolis Faculty — their fourth part crown however first on the highest stage.

“It’s stress to start with, however should you’re a baller, you’re a baller,” Josahn stated of taking part in for his dad. “You get used to it, and him being powerful solely makes you stronger.”

King/Drew guard Jayshawn Kibble tries to shoot over LACES defender Ryan Conner.

King/Drew guard Jayshawn Kibble tries to shoot over LACES defender Ryan Conner through the Metropolis Part Open Division boys’ basketball last.

(Steve Galluzzo / For The Instances)

King/Drew (19-11) used utilizing its loss to Washington Prep in its regular-season finale as motivation and was decided to not underestimate any opponent within the playoffs. The Golden Eagles didn’t, defeating No. 7 Palisades, No. 3 Birmingham and the No. 8 Unicorns (19-11), who had upset top-seeded Cleveland within the quarterfinals.

“After they beat the No. 1 seed, we knew we’d have a combat if we performed them,” stated junior Donald Thompson, who was held to 4 factors however did all the little issues to assist his group win — beginning quick breaks, boxing out on rebounds and discovering open shooters when he was double teamed. “I wasn’t producing on offense like I often do, however there are numerous methods to influence a sport. Our defensive depth is what received it for us.”

LACES, which additionally was in pursuit of its first Open Division crown after profitable 5 championships in decrease divisions since 2009, goes as senior level guard Donovan Cornelius goes, and on Saturday he was held to 12 factors. Ryan Conner, who made a last-second three-pointer to stun Chatsworth within the semifinals, added six for the Unicorns.

“Our mind-set was to compete and that nobody is healthier than us,” Josahn Webster stated.

LACES trailed by 12 with 5:35 left, however a three-pointer by Yasin Sharif pulled the Unicorns to inside seven with 3:27 left. Kibble answered with an acrobatic layup whereas being fouled, twisting his physique in midair, to make it 44-35. Cornelius made a technical free throw and Ian Hunter hit a floater within the lane to make it 44-38, and wing Emmanuel Duru made certainly one of two free throws with 2:14 left. Nevertheless, Orlando Johnson drove for a layup and Webster hit a pair of free throws to place King/Drew up 48-39 with 1:17 remaining.

Conner’s three-pointer pulled LACES inside 48-42 with 58.9 seconds left, however Kibble then made two free throws, forcing Conner to foul deliberately and Webster made the primary of two foul photographs to make it a nine-point lead with 34.1 seconds left.

King/Drew players celebrate their Open Division victory over LACES on Saturday.

King/Drew gamers have a good time their Open Division victory over LACES on Saturday.

(Steve Galluzzo / For The Instances)

King/Drew was making its fifth straight look within the Open Division. It misplaced within the finals in 2022, however this time the Golden Eagles wouldn’t be denied.

“I’m very happy with this group,” Thompson stated. “When the season began everybody doubted us, saying we had been too younger, nobody anticipated us to win. I’m not even fascinated with subsequent yr. I’m simply glad we received.”

Division II

Verdugo Hills 53, Garfield 43 — Middle George Abdulnour scored 15 factors, Gianmarco Figueroa had 13 factors, Alexander Martinez completed with 10 factors and Garik Yepremyan added 9 factors for the Dons (21-11), who opened the second quarter on a 13-0 run to take management and by no means trailed after that.

Jayden Barnes scored 18 factors for the top-seeded Bulldogs (24-3), who suffered their first loss since a 64-59 defeat to Venice on Dec. 19. Garfield was making an attempt to win a second straight Metropolis title, having received the Division III crown final yr.

Each groups will characterize the part within the regional playoffs.

Division IV

Bernstein 67, Math & Science 61 — Greg Griffin scored 29 factors, Troy Agtang added 26 factors and Jeff Fields made a pair of free throws with 12.1 seconds remaining to clinch the Dragons’ third Metropolis title and first since profitable the Division II championship in 2016. Sidney Scott scored 18 factors and Adan Martinez and Sterling Keyser added 12 apiece for the Sharks (23-8), who had been looking for their second part crown.

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