Boys' basketball: Score one for the neighborhood boys from Oak Park
Oak Park, a public school that relies on neighborhood kids, has knocked off another private-school power.
Defending state Division III champion Mission Hills Alemany couldn’t convert important free throws in the fourth quarter and was beaten by the Eagles, 63-60, on Friday night in a semifinal game of the San Fernando Valley Invitational at Crespi.
Oak Park (9-1), which knocked off Bellflower St. John Bosco last season but lost to Alemany in the section championship game, received 24 points from Ron Lee Jr. and 20 from JD Slajchert.
Brandon Hill gave Oak Park the lead for good with a three-pointer with 45 seconds left for a 59-58 advantage. Lee made two free throws with 21 seconds left for a 61-58 lead. Bennie Boatwright of Alemany made one of two free throws with seven seconds left, and Bear Henderson brought the Warriors within 61-60 with one of two free throws with 3 seconds left.
But Slajchert, a 6-foot-5 senior who entered Oak Park as a 5-8 freshman, made two free throws with under two seconds left to seal the victory. Brandon Boyd had 18 points and Henderson 14 for Alemany (5-3).
Oak Park will play Crescenta Valley in Saturday's 7 p.m. final at Crespi. The Falcons beat Kennedy, 70-56.
In other games, D.J. Ursery and London Perrantes scored 16 points apiece in Crespi's 68-47 win over Muir. University defeated St. Genevieve, 61-58. Quartz Hill defeated Salesian, 62-48. Camarillo defeated Sun Valley Poly, 80-53. Milken defeated Northridge, 78-54. Sherman Oaks Notre Dame defeated Grant, 61-54. Ryan Ducar had 22 points.
Granada Hills defeated Arleta, 52-31. Monroe defeated Panorama, 53-40. Knight defeated Chatsworth, 62-60. North Hollywood defeated Verdugo Hills, 51-50, in overtime.
-- Eric Sondheimer