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Boys' basketball: Taft wins City Division I title

_3036842Woodland Hills Taft has won its second straight Los Angeles City Section Division I title, beating Dorsey 58-42 at Cal State Dominguez Hills.

Senior forward Anthony January led the way with 24 points, 19 rebounds and several crowd-pleasing dunks, as the top-seeded Toreadors (29-3) pulled away during the second half after leading only 21-17 at halftime. Kris Yanku added 14 points and Jayvon Gentle had 10 points and eight rebounds for Taft, which was making its fifth consecutive finals appearance.

Guard Kalin Barber scored 11 points and Donald Muepo Jr. had nine points and five rebounds for the seventh-seeded Dons (27-8), who had upset #2 Fairfax and #3 Westchester on their way to the final.

Dorsey shot just 14 of 49 from the floor (28.6%), including 2 of 13 from three-point distance, and was out-rebounded 45-22. The Dons also did themselves no favors at the free throw line, missing half of their 24 attempts.

It was a signature victory for Taft's new coach Jason Hart, who took over for 11-year veteran Derrick Taylor, who enjoyed a successful first season at Bellflower St. John Bosco. A local product, Hart went to Inglewood High and Syracuse University, then played for seven teams in his 10-year NBA career, retiring in December 2010 after a stint with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

"Yeah, I had big shoes to fill... my own," Hart said. "I want to win, but I want to do it my way. I'm not familiar with what Coach Taylor did. I have my style, I'm a defense-first guy and the kids bought in."

-- Steve Galluzzo

Photo: Taft players raise the championship trophy after their 58-42 victory over Dorsey in the L.A. City Section Division I final at Cal State Dominguez Hills. Credit: Steve Galluzzo / For The Times

 
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