Prep Sports

Garfield defeats Roosevelt, wins Eastern League title

In what was likely its final home game of the season, Garfield High School held off persistent Roosevelt to score a 58-49 victory and capture the Eastern League boys’ basketball championship.

The Bulldogs were seeded 10th in the City Section Division I playoffs and defeated seventh seed Chatsworth, 71-65, Wednesday at Chatsworth.

Garfield (19-7 overall) advances to play second seed Granada Hills (18-12) in a quarterfinal Friday night at Granada Hills. The Highlanders, the West Valley League champion, had a first-round bye. With the loss, Chatsworth finished 11-19.

Like it did a year ago in Division II, Garfield will be attempting to make another impressive run through the City playoffs. But Division I opponents will be more formidable. Palisades (15-12), Granada Hills (18-12), University (17-13) and Polytechnic (15-12) are the top four seeds in Division I.

Quarterfinals will be played Friday at home sites.

The Bulldogs advanced to the finals before losing to Sylmar in the championship game.

Last Friday, with Stevie Williams and Bryan Lopez working inside to score 10 points between them, the Bulldogs raced out to a 12-0 lead over archrival Roosevelt before an enthusiastic crowd in a filled-to-capacity Garfield gym.

Feeding off the same energy, the Rough Riders rallied back to outscore the Bulldos 25-12 and leave the court leading by one at halftime.

In the third quarter, a late run by the Bulldogs gave Garfield a 35-32 lead, an advantage it never relinquished. A basket by Alexis Farias increased the lead to eight, 46-38 with 3:28 to play in the game.

Farias scored nine of his game-leading 15 points in the fourth quarter. Williams finished with 10 points and Lopez put in eight.

Roosevelt’s Bernardo Cruz matched Farias for game-high honors with 15 points and Johnny Gomez scored nine.

With the loss, Roosevelt saw its record drop to 13-14 overall and 5-7 in league. The Rough Riders were seeded eighth in the Division II playoffs and drew No. 9 Arleta (11-12, 4-8) at home. The Rough Riders and Mustangs, who placed fifth in the East Valley League, were scheduled to play their first round game Feb. 18.