As the Regional CIF Championships get underway this week, Palisades residents will have a chance to watch and cheer for the Dolphins. Boys basketball is at home on Tuesday, March 3 at 5 p.m. The girls play immediately afterwards at PaliHi.
On March 5, you’ll get to see the girls soccer team in action at the Stadium by the Sea.
Boys Basketball Wins Division I City Title
In Division I, senior Sheldon Zanders scored 18 points as Palisades High won its first City Section basketball championship since 1969 with a 50-38 victory over Harbor City Narbonne.
Coach Donzell Hayes, a PaliHi grad, told the L.A. Times, “It’s been 51 years, I’m just grateful.”
The Dolphins were 15-11 overall and 6-6 in Western League play, which is invariably dominated by powerhouses Westchester and Fairfax. The Comets routed the Lions, 68-43, to capture the Open Division title.
The Dolphins, fifth ranked in Division 1, defeated Van Nuys 53-41 in the first round, then upset fourth-seeded University, 48-47. In the semi-finals at Southwest College, Pali shocked top-seeded View Park, 44-35.
Palisades, now seeded second, will play Independence (15th seed) at home at 5 p.m., on March 3 in Round 1 of the Division IV of the CIF State Boys Basketball Championships.
Palisades won its first Open Division title under second-year coach Adam Levine, after winning Open titles in 2015 and 2016 under former coach Tornio Johnson. The Dolphins (22-9 overall, 12-0 in league) beat Western League rival Hamilton 60-44 in the championship game.
Sophomore Demonnie Lagway made consecutive three-point baskets to give the Dolphins a 33-25 lead midway through the third quarter. Ivy Scott had 12 points, Alexis Pettis totaled 11, and Pepperdine-bound Jane Nwaba, the only senior on the team, scored 7.
The girls are seeded second in the CIF State Girls Basketball Championships – Division II and will play Mission Hills at home at 6 p.m. on March 3.
Girls Lose a Heartbreaker in Soccer Finals
The Division 1 championship match at L.A. Valley College on Saturday was a near repeat of PaliHi’s nail biting semifinal win against San Pedro, which the Dolphins won on penalty shots.
Playing top-seeded Granada Hills, second-seeded Palisades scored in the 23rd minute when Izzy Gill placed a cross in the back of the net. Not until the 72nd minute of the 80-minute game did Granada Hills finally score.
The teams then played two 10-minute overtime periods, followed by two five-minute “golden goal” o periods, followed by penalty kicks.
The Dolphins lost 5-4 on penalty kicks.
Afterwards Coach Christian Chambers said “It was a scappy game. We were definitely the better team in the first half but couldn’t get the second goal.”
“It was a tough loss, but I am proud of the girls and what they’ve done this year,” he said. “Some of the soccer had been fantastic to watch and the girls have had fun doing it. With all the freshman and sophomore players that got good time this year, I am really looking forward to seeing what we can do in the next few years.”
Palisades will play in the Division II CIF Southern California Regional Championships, where they are the top seed. They have a bye on March 3 for the quarterfinals and face the winner of Centennial/La Mirada game at the March 5 semifinal at Palisades at 4 p.m.
Wrestling: Boys Are Third in City Section
At the L.A. City Section tournament at Birmingham on February 15, Coach Mike Lawlor had 11 wrestlers competing–and eight placed. The Dolphins finished third out of 32 teams, with Birmingham beating Sylmar by one point to win its third consecutive City championship.
PaliHi’s Ryan Woods was the champ at 106 pounds and qualified for state as a freshman. Birmingham led the City with four wrestlers qualifying for state.
The Dolphins’ Eric Smith-Williams (145) and Parsa Pourmoula (152) made it to the finals. Smith-Williams lost to Birmingham’s Desi Lobos in a 6-2 decision. Pourmoula last to Sebastian Tapia (Bell) in a 5-2 decision.
Richie Rosen (113) took third, Nick Meeks (220) was fourth and Kyle Santelices (132), Johnny Berrellez (138) and Braeden Harris (170) were fifth.
At the State championships in Bakersfield over the weekend, freshman Woods wrestled against ninth-ranked Romero Sanchez from San Marino in his first round.
Boys Soccer Falls in First Round
This was Marvin Lemus’ first season as head coach at PaliHi and his team finished 13-5 overall and 10-2 in league.
Lemus, a former standout player for the Dolphins, saw his team lose 4-0 to top-seeded Marquez in the first round of the Division I playoffs. Marquez went on to lose to El Camino Real, 3-1, in the championship game.
With only six seniors on the team, the Dolphins should be poised for a major run next year.
Girls Water Polo Loses 17-16 in City Final
Coached by Kirk Lazaruk, Pali breezed through the season with a 7-2 record and was seeded number one in the Division 1 playoffs, only to lose to third-seeded Birmingham, 17-16, in the finals.
The Dolphins were seeded fourth in the CIF SoCal Division III tournament. They crushed Santa Fe Christian, 18-6, only to then face their nemesis, top-seeded Birmingham the next day. They again lost by one point, 11-10. In the championship game later that same day, Birmingham fell to Mar Vista 14-9.