ROUND TWO OF L.A. CITY RIVALRY GOES TO COMETS

Now that the Westchester of Los Angeles boys basketball team has beaten the nation's No. 2-ranked team -- at least according to that consistently-inaccurate nonsense that USA Today publishes -- the Comets might be able to set their sights on No. 1 St. Vincent-St. Mary of Akron, Ohio.

With Scott Cutley scoring 28 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, Westchester avenged an earlier two-point loss to Western League rival Fairfax with a convincing 87-72 win on Wednesday on its home floor. The Comets also received 18 points from senior Trevor Ariza plus 13 from Bobby Brown and 12 from sophomore Marcus Johnson.

The matchup also brought together the state's No. 2 and No. 3 teams -- we have Mater Dei No. 1 while USA Yesterday had Fairfax as its top California squad -- and this time it was the Comets turn to shine.

As they did in the first game between the two on Jan. 14 at Fairfax, Westchester raced out to a big early lead. In that game, though, the Lions rallied for a tense 58-55 win. This time, the Comets maintained their lead throughout.

On Feb. 8, Westchester is scheduled to play St. Vincent-St. Mary and its star player, LeBron James, at the Prime Time Shootout in New Jersey. There's been talk back East that event organizers would rather have St. Vincent-St. Mary face McQuaid Jesuit of New York, which is unbeaten, in a matchup that might be more decisive in determining this year's mythical national champ.

No mention of any switching of opponents has been reported in California and Westchester's big win over Fairfax makes the Comets a much more sellable foe for LeBron and company anyway.

In addition to showing Fairfax at No. 2 in its rankings this week, USA Yesterday also placed Garces of Bakersfield at No. 24 with no mention at all of San Diego Horizon (which by all logic should be in front of Garces).

None of that will matter, of course, to the media, which will continue to hype USA Yesterday's rankings as the only ones that count, even in some cases above those in particular states who obviously know a lot more about what's going on in their state than some guy based out of the East Coast who's doing both boys and girls rankings at the same time.


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