All season the Granada Hills and Westchester girls; basketball teams were on a collision course. They finally met for City Section supremacy at Pasadena City College on Saturday night and neither side gave an inch in a championship showdown that lived up to the hype.
The teams traded baskets for 3½ quarters, but in the final four minutes the second-seeded Comets took over and they took advantage of Granada Hills foul trouble to pull away with free throws and gritty defense to claim their first Open Division title and fifth to claim. overall with a 51-44 win.
“We stuck together, we did what the coaches told us to do and we proved we’re number 1,” said Westchester junior forward Mariah Blake, who led the Comets with 20 points. “Our plan was to stay in attack mode. We practiced boxing and that’s what we did.”
Senior guard Rylei Waugh had 11 points, senior center Anyse Grimble had eight, senior guard Ron’yae Jackson added six, and second guard Reigne Waugh also had six for Westchester, who beat top-seeded Granada Hills (25-5) held on three points. the last 4:08.
Junior point guard Marianne Boco, who averaged 16 points per game in the game, scored the Highlanders’ first eight points of the first half and their first nine of the second half. Her three-pointer at the buzzer gave Granada Hills a 16–13 lead after the quarter and by the time Boco fouled with 53.6 seconds left, she had scored 29 points.
“She’s very talented — I’ll give her that,” Blake said of Boco.
Guard Alex Arias made a free throw, missed the second but got her own rebound and put it in to pull the Highlanders inside 49-44 with 20.7 seconds left, but Waugh made a pair of free throws with 13.1 seconds left to take the match out of range.
Both teams went into the game without losing to a City opponent and the Comets (29-1) finished that way. Their only loss was one point in overtime to Bonita Vista at the MLK Showcase on January 16.
“This has been our goal from the start of the season,” said Blake, who put her team ahead 21-20 at halftime and a 37-35 lead after three quarters.
Westchester, who upset Granada Hills in the semi-final before falling to Lake Balboa Birmingham in the final last year, captured his second crown in six seasons under coach Dominic Grimes, who led the Comets to the Division I title in 2020. The Comets won the 4A title in 1988 and Division I titles in 2015 and 2017, all under different coaches.
In the Division I Final earlier Saturday, guard Hannah Lising scored 35 points to lead Sun Valley Poly to a 67-64 overtime victory over LACES. Alyssa Jaime stole the ball, was fouled, and made the second of two free throws to put Poly ahead of three with 7.1 seconds left. The Unicorns had a chance to force double overtime, but didn’t get a shot in time.