It was the strangest of all coaching debuts for former Sun Valley Poly All-City guard DJ Gay on Tuesday night. His Windward basketball team went 6 minutes and 10 seconds without a shot in the first quarter, then went 6:09 in the third quarter and remained scoreless. And yet, the Wildcats came away with a 56-50 win over St. Monica, lit by 22 points from sophomore guard Gavin Hightower.
“We know it’s a running game,” Gay said.
Windward had a 22-0 run and St. Monica had a 25-3 run. Then Windward went on a final 13-0 run to pull away. Hightower made 14 of 17 free throws and was rewarded for attacking the basket and keeping his balance when things didn’t go well early on.
“Gavin needs to learn not to let insults dictate how he plays,” Gay said. “He’s shown growth.”
Said Hightower, “I just had to slow down.”
Luke Sammann got hot for Windward in the second half, finishing with 14 points. St. Monica received 13 points from Daniel Kirakosyan, who scored eight consecutive points at one point in the third quarter.
Gay, who coached in San Diego before defeating a large group of candidates for the Windward job, has a young team that only gets better with experience.
Oak Park 73, Knight 63: The Eagles had to endure 29 points from Knight’s Malik Larane to secure victory in the Providence tournament. Trey McDonald finished with 20 points, and Isaiah Sherrard and Dylan Hayse each added 16.
Chadwick 52, Inglewood 50: Micah Breaux had 21 points for Chadwick. Jude Harris led Inglewood with 28 points.
56 St Francis, 27 Whittier: George Tupy led St. Francis by 15 points.
Heritage Christian 88, Granada Hills 55: Sophomore Tae Simmons scored 27 points for Heritage Christian. Joe Greene led Granada Hills with 23.
Sherman Oaks Notre Dame 80, Agoura 53: The Knights (2-0) received 16 points from Dusty Stromer and 15 from Dante Ogbu.
JSerra 67, America 38: Sebastian Ranik had 14 points for JSerra.
Simi Valley 85, Hueneme 21: Justin Rener scored 20 points for the Pioneers (2-0).
Basketball for girls
Chatsworth 49, Wilson 37: Vicky Menjivar scored 10 points for the Chancellors.
Eagle Rock 58, Garfield 38: Ava Kidder had 20 points and nine rebounds for Eagle Rock.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/highschool/story/2022-11-15/prep-basketball-windward-dj-gay Prep basketball: Windward wins debut for new coach DJ Gay