Boys' basketball: There's a new City Section rivalry about to be born
Since 2000, every City Section Divsion I boys' basketball championshp has been won by Westchester, Fairfax or Taft.
On Saturday at 8 p.m. at Cal State Dominguez Hills, Woodland Hills El Camino Real has a chance to join the party. The Conquistadores will play Westchester for the Division I championship in what could be round one of a new rivalry.
Westchester and El Camino Real are loaded with top young players, so this won't be the end but the beginning. El Camino Real had never won a City title in basketball until winning the Division II crown last season. Now the Conquistadores are in with the big boys. Westchester has won 11 Division I titles under Coach Ed Azzam.
The big question on Saturday is will the Conquistadores not be intimidated by Westchester's tradition?
El Camino Real (28-2) has tried to prepare for this game by playing a tough schedule. The Conquistadores' only losses were to a pair of Southern Section teams, Brentwood and Chaminade, who will be playing for championships on Saturday in 4A and 3A, respectively.
Most observers are predicting the game is going to come down to how well junior point guard Maleke Haynes performs on offense and defense. He'll need to limit his turnovers, be careful not to get into foul trouble on drives to the basket and must keep his poise when the game is decided at the end.
Whatever happens, all signs point toward a terrific matchup on Saturday that will launch a new City Section rivalry.
-- Eric Sondheimer