FAIRFAX UNDERRATED? NOT BY US

After knocking off the No. 3 team in the nation and the No. 1 team in the state, Fairfax High basketball star Evan Burns blurted out his satisfaction about the win to sportwriters from the Daily Breeze and L.A. Times -- and about his team not appearing in very many national rankings or being low in other rankings within Southern California.

"We can overcome and we can play with anybody in this country," said Burns, who scored 17 points. "We're underrated."

Not by CalHiSports.com. Even though the Lions had lost by 100-68 two weeks ago to Westchester they were still at No. 3 in the state coming into the game, primarily because they only lost to the Comets by two in December and because they captured top honors over the holidays at the Iolani tourney in Hawaii. In that event, the Lions topped a field that included nationally-ranked Montrose Christian of Maryland, Garfield of Seattle, Wash., and California's Clovis West.

The loss won't cost Westchester its No. 1 statewide ranking. The Comets are still 2-1 vs. Fairfax and their only other loss is to national No. 1 Oak Hill of Virginia. Westchester also is the only team to defeat Rice of New York so far this year and Rice is one of the top three teams in the East. The win should jump Fairfax ahead of unbeaten Compton Centennial into the No. 2 spot for the state and should put the Lions into the top 20 of the Student Sports FAB 50. Fairfax already was No. 33 in that listing.

Point guard Kevin Bell canned a pair of free throws with 8.2 seconds left to clinch the win for Fairfax. Had he missed, Westchester would have had the chance to tie with a two-point bucket or win it on a three.

But the way Westchester shot threes during the game a last-second bomb would have been a real miracle. The Comets only made 1-of-15 shots from beyond the arc and the Fairfax defense also did a good job of limiting fast-break baskets.

Burns was aided in scoring by freshman Jamal Boykin, who scored 10 points, same as Bell.

University of Arizona-bound Hassan Adams led Westchester with 17 points and seven rebounds while junior Trevor Ariza added 10 points and 12 rebounds.

"This is the kind of loss that in the long run means nothing unless we learn nothing from it," Westchester coach Ed Azzam told the Daily Breeze. "The game we don't want to lose is the last game."

The result also likely means that Westchester and Fairfax will be co-champions of the L.A. City Section's Western League. Westchester still should be seeded No. 1 in the L.A. City Section playoffs, although if Dorsey finishes the Coliseum League unbeaten it would seem to have a case for a top seed, too.


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