WESTCHESTER -- When it comes to boys' basketball rivalries in the Southland, very few are as fierce or have a longer history than the one between Los Angeles Fairfax and Westchester.
Accordingly, the two teams got together once again on Thursday night. And for the second time in as many attempts this season, the Comets prevailed, 58-46 in a Western League game.
“When we play Fairfax, records go right out the window, our showdowns with them always seem to be competitive. Forget about the final score tonight, it was one of those hard-fought games, both teams came out hard and competed until the end,'' Westchester coach Ed Azzam said.
“The great thing about our two programs is that we have this mutual respect for each other. The kids get along, for the most part. Well, maybe not during the game, but afterward, things seem to be just fine. It doesn't matter who wins, there's never any real animosity the next day.''
That might be easy for Azzam to say.
The Comets, after all, defeated the Lions on the road, 60-47, a mere two weeks ago. The lopsided win helped them move up to No. 6 in the ESPNLosAngeles.com top 20 rankings.
This victory, however, meant much more considering Westchester (19-5, 8-0) remains atop the league standings heading into Monday night's game against host Los Angeles University (20-5, 5-1) at 5:30 p.m.. And sole possession of first place figures to be at stake in that one.
Give the Lions some credit, they did a good job of keeping Robert Gsellman in check on Thursday. The 6-foot-6 senior wing was held to nine points when all was said and done.
Joshua Wilson and Matthew Grant picked up the slack for the Comets, who jumped out to a 12-6 lead at the end of the first quarter of play and took five-point lead at halftime.
Wilson and Grant were effective in the second half and combined for 23 points. As result, Westchester built what proved to be an insurmountable nine-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Laik Carter had 21 points for Fairfax (12-7, 4-4), but his efforts came up short.
Sean Ceglinsky covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.