Boys' basketball: Taft cruises by Clovis West, 84-54
Anthony January had 17 points, Brandon Perry and Kris Yanku had 16 apiece and Steven Jones added 12 points, including three straight three-pointers, as Woodland Hills Taft opened the CIF Division 1 state tournament in most impressive fashion, routing Fresno Clovis West, 84-54, in the opening round of the Southern California Regional playoffs.
Fresh off their second consecutive Los Angeles City Section championship, the third-seeded Toreadors (29-3) are now out to prove they can play with the best from other sections as well. Taft raced to a 45-27 halftime lead and never looked back, gradually increasing its advantage throughout the second half.
"Why shouldn't they think they're going to win it all?," Taft Coach Jason Hart said. "We're playing to win. We're playing for real-life dreams."
T.J. Jackson poured in 14 points, including four three-point baskets, to pace the Central Section finalist Eagles (21-7), who suffered their second straight postseason elimination to Taft, having lost 83-45 in the same gym last year.
"We're proud that we won City, but we believe we can play with Mater Dei, Long Beach Poly and all those teams," January said. "We just have to keep playing hard and play our style."
Taft will host Fresno Bullard in the regional quarterfinals Saturday night. The sixth-seeded Knights (30-3) beat Clovis West for the Central Section title last week and began the state tournament with a 68-53 victory over City semifinalist Westchester.
-- Steve Galluzzo
Photo: Taft's Anthony January (left) tries to dunk over Clovis West's Ray Rodriguez in Taft's 84-54 victory in the CIF Southern California Regional playoffs. Credit: Steve Galluzzo / For The Times