LA North and LA South: Taft beats Westchester in basketball showdown

LOS ANGELES -- With the Southern Section high school football playoffs seemingly heating up all over the Southland, it would be easy to understand why a high-profile boys’ basketball showcase such as the Westchester Tournament could potentially be overlooked.

But missing out on a chance to catch the talent on hand during Saturday night’s game between Woodland Hills Taft and the host Comets in the tournament championship game proved to be far too good of an opportunity to pass up, even with all of the gridiron goings on.

The Toreadors lineup, loaded with a number of NCAA Division I type recruits, entered the showdown as the prohibitive favorite. And they looked every bit the part. Taft was impressive from start to finish en route to winning the title with a 71-60 victory over Westchester.

Colorado-bound Spencer Dinwiddie had to be considered as one of the marquee names and he did little to tarnish his reputation on Saturday. ESPNU ranks the 6-foot-3 senior point guard as the nation’s No. 25 player at his position and he scored 18 points against the Comets.

Another of Taft’s many prospects to play well was Kevin Johnson, a 6-9 and 225-pound senior center who is being recruited by the likes of Baylor, Illinois and Kentucky, to name a few. The big man finished with a substandard six points, but his impact was felt on the defensive end against Westchester.

C.J. Blackwell is a newcomer at Taft, having moved to Southern California from Georgia. And it appears as if the 6-5 senior small forward is fitting in just fine with his new teammates. Blackwell, who’s been contacted by several schools, ended up with 18 points.

As for the Comets, they don’t have nearly as many household names. Nevertheless, Robert Gsellman played well. The 6-5 junior wing had 15 points for Westchester. Fellow underclassman Keywhon Powns added 12 points.