Narbonne is No. 1 seed for Open Division basketball playoffs

A changing of the guard is taking place in boys’ basketball in the City Section, with one-year-coach Harbor City Narbonne (17-8) ranked No. 1 for Saturday’s eight-team Open Division playoffs.

Narbonne manager Kumase Demesma was Anthony Hilliard’s assistant before taking over this season. The arrival of 6-foot-8 Marcus Adams Jr. for his senior year has made the Gauchos favorites to win the Open Division title. Lake Balboa Birmingham is seeded at number 2

The first round games are scheduled for Friday. The semifinals and finals will take place on February 18th and 25th at Pasadena City College. The opening games are: No. 8 Westchester at No. 1 Narbonne; #5 LA King/Drew in #4 Woodland Hills Taft; No. 7 San Pedro at No. 2 Birmingham; No. 6 Crenshaw at No. 3 Fairfax.

Demesma faces a multitude of experienced trainers. Taft’s Derrick Taylor just won his 500th game and is a four-time City champion. Birmingham’s Nick Halic has won two City titles. King/Drews Lloyd Webster was close after losing to Fairfax in last year’s final. Ed Waters of Crenshaw has two Division I titles. Fairfax, the defending champions, also have a freshman coach in Jamal Hartwell.

The Open Division was weakened by Washington Prep’s decision to forego playoff participation. The school gave no reason to the City Section and coach Jovante King said on Saturday he had not been informed of the decision.

There are also problems with Westchester, which is seeded 2nd in the Open Division girls and 8th in the boys. Both coaches are suspended. Boys coach Dewitt Cotton was suspended for pulling his team off with 1.3 seconds left in a game against Crenshaw. He will return after the first round of the playoffs. Dominic Grimes’ suspension from the girls’ team is unrelated to Cotton’s and when he will return is uncertain. The reason for his suspension was also not disclosed. Junior university trainers have taken over both teams.

Granada Hills earned the No. 1 for the Open Division girls who start games on Thursday and meets No. 8 San Fernando. The other opening matchups: #5 Birmingham vs. #4 King/Drew; #7 taffeta at #2 Westchester; No. 6 stockade at No. 3 Crenshaw.

Venice was seeded No. 1 for Division I boys and Hamilton for Division I girls. Narbonne is No. 1 seed for Open Division basketball playoffs

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