Prep Sports

PREP BASKETBALL: Western League sets the pace for City girls’ contenders

In recent years, the Western League has been a conduit for Los Angeles City Section championships in girls’ basketball.

The recent performance of teams like Westchester (13-4), Fairfax (11-3), Hamilton (7-2), Venice (7-2), Palisades (7-5) and University (7-3) helps support the theory that the Western League is the City’s strongest at this point.

Fairfax, after finishing as runner-up to Narbonne in 2012 and 2013, broke through to beat Narbonne for the Division I crown in 2014 and followed up with an Open Division title win over Palisades last year. University collected a Division III trophy in 2012 and a Division II crown in 2014.

Fairfax, coached by Charles Harrell, receives its firepower from Dawnyel Lair (15 points and eight rebounds a game), Chassen Gutierrez (15.6 points and nine rebounds a game), Jaedyn Evans, Tricia Delph and Kaci Scott.

Not to be outdone, Westchester has won two out of the last three Division I titles, including last year.

Westchester, coached by Dominic Grimes, is led by Destiny Brown (18 points and 14 rebounds per game), Jaylynn Gray (14.8 ppg), Diana Gaitan, Cheyanne Whitfield and Justice Walters.

Since 2011, Palisades has won titles in Division II (2011, 2012) and in the Open Division (2015, 2016).

Sure enough, there is a long way to go as important league games are approaching, but if the current pattern continues, high playoff seedings will be at a premium for these and many other local teams. Narbonne, currently 9-4 as of Jan. 7, is a common thread in Division I competition.

Other local teams making their bids in the City Section include King-Drew (9-3), Dorsey (7-6), Crenshaw (2-0), Eagle Rock (7-5), LACES (8-5), South Gate (6-4), Jefferson (5-2), Animo South Los Angeles (4-0), Animo Watts (6-3) and Central City Value (9-7).