For the second year in a row, Van Nuys Grant won the City Section Division I boys’ basketball title, and again the Lancers did it by upsetting a Western League No. 1 seed.
The second-seeded Lancers (21-10) used senior forward Dashaun Gains’ hot shots and tough defense in the paint to triumph 63-53 over Venice, who were denied its first section title since 1948.
The win poured in 29 points for Grant, who led 32-27 at halftime, 44-42 after three quarters and gradually increased his advantage during a frenzied fourth quarter, answering every game in Venice with a Saturday afternoon of his own at Pasadena City College.
Grant coach Tarek Abdelsameia was as happy as he was last winter as he led the Lancers to a 53-48 victory over Westchester as a No. 3 seed for the program’s first section crown.
Senior guard Byron Mendez had 12 points, senior forward Jaylen Jones and junior guard Anthony Minnoy each added six, and center Dilyn Martin had five, including a three-pointer that gave Grant a 10-point lead with 1:34 remaining.
Tyler Hunt, who led the Gondoliers to the Division III state finals last season after losing in the City Open Division quarter-finals, scored 20 points, but the junior guard didn’t get enough help from his teammates.
Junior guard Aidan Donald contributed seven points and Kenyon Alexander added six, but the Gondoliers missed numerous layups. Twice in the fourth quarter, they had four baskets, but came away empty.