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Comet Pride Classic: Westchester
Beats Crossroads--(Dec. 5, 1998)

Our friend and correspondent Jason Day made it over to Westchester on Friday night for the First Annual Westchester Comet Price Classic which was held at Southwest LA College. Here's his report.  The photos are taken by our other friend Larry Gray. And be sure to visit Ultra Student Athletes Online where Jason is a regular contributor as well as here at SoCalHoops.

Westchester Defeats Crossroads 66-55
by Jason Day
Photos by Larry Gray

The proud members of "Hoopaholics Anonymous", including yours truly, got one of our wishes granted last night when we got to see this year's version of the defending Division I championship Westchester team take on the ever dangerous Roadrunners of Santa Monica Crossroads. The occassion was the first annual Comet Pride Classic hosted by Westchester High at Southwest Community College. It was a double header that featured Verbum Dei, led by Dalron Johnson against San Diego Horizon High.  That was a great game and you can check out my article and "Elgee's" photo work here and over at Ultra Student Athletes Online.

This was Westchester's season opener, and Crossroads was still smarting from a 34 pt. loss to Compton Dominguez in the Reebok Tip-Off event earlier this week.

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Felipe Williams flys in for 2
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Lawson and Osborne give way

Westchester pretty much controlled this game throughout. But Crossroads put on a much better display of their formidable talent than they did agains the Dons.

Things have obviously changed for the Comets.  Most obvious is the absence of PG Brandon Granville who's kickin up much dust in the Pac 10 over at USC. USC teammate David Bluthenthal was also a major star for Westchester's State Champ team. They also lost super all around player Albert Miller to graduation.

If last night's game is any indication, Westchester will challenge for the City title again, and may be in the hunt to repeat at the Sectional and State levels. Am I hedging? Definitely. It's early in the season and there are new faces that will be expected to fill the voids left by the aformentined players. Is the talent there to do that? Yeah.   Will they do it this year? Let's wait and see. 

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Chris Osborne for the slam

Arizona State bound Chris Osborne (6'9 220 SR C/F) will be the big man replacement for Bluthenthal. He had 18 in this one and displayed all of his weapons. He's big, agile, a great defender, and can run the floor with the best of em. He's also got a very consistent short range jumper. Mackenzie Dent (6'5 SR F/C), Chad Bell (7' [?] SO C), and combo guard 6'6 JR, Lou Wright will all see much duty on the frontline. 

6'5, and super athletic sophomore Terence Lawson and 6'5 JR, and just as athletic, Jason Breland will also see a good deal of PT at the 2 and the 3.

Out front the Comets boast a pretty deep crew.  6'2 SR G, and streaky shooter, Eric Knight, 6'2 JR transfer, Kevin Brown (Pacific Hills, St. Bernard's), and Wright will all handle getting the ball up court.

You can check our previous articles to catch up on Crossroads. I will tell you that Coach Roper clearly communicated the need to change some things from Tuesday night's game against Dominguez. First, and foremost, big man Isaiah Fox, (6'-9" Jr C) handled three times as much in this one. He only managed 9 pts. but it kept him much more involved in this game. They also shot the ball from the perimeter far better than they did the other night. Devrin Anderson, 6'2 SR G, hit three 3pt shots and finished with 10 pts. The surprise, at least for me, was 6'3 250 SR F Albert Gersten. He's a big kid, a BIG kid. "Big Country" big. So when you see him raise up for a 3 pointer, the eyebrow tends to twitch a bit. He couldn't hit didly against Dominguez but he was back bombing away in this one and dropped five 3 pointers enroute to a team high 16 pts.

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Westchester's Eric Knight drives around
"X-Roads' Chad Gordon

For Westchester: To go with Osborne's 18, Breeland had 14, Wright had 6, and Dent had 6.

All in all, Westchester was just too deep for Crossroads. They were up by 7 at the half and while Crossroads was definitely competitive, the Comets didn't have too much trouble rolling to the 11 point win.

The Roadrunners have as strong a first 7, or so, players as most teams you'll see. But there's a significant drop as you get deeper into the bench. Felipe Williams, the 6'3 JR F who defines athletism at this level, has nobody to really fill in for him. Misha Taylor, (6'6 SR F) did not play. (He's nursing a back problem that turned out to be more serious than previously thought, and will be out for several weeks.) When Felipe fouled out early in the 4th with 11pts., "X-Roads" rebounding and defensive intensity dipped. Chad Gordon, (6'3 SR G/F) tried to take up the slack but, while playing a strong defensive game, could only manage 6 or 7 on the offensive end. I think Crossroads and Verbum Dei will be very successful in Div. IV this year and expect that they'll fight it out to see who represents SoCal at the State Tourney. We'll see.  Later.   Jason Day

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Osborne with the reject
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Coach Roper is not happy


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