Los Angeles, CA – The Fairfax Lions (16-6, 10-0 league) defeated the King/Drew Golden Eagles (20-11, 10-0 league) to capture the CIF City Section Open Division Championship title 76-64 at Roybal Learning Center on Saturday evening.
Laker guard Russell Westbrook was in attendance to support his former high school coach Reggie Morris Jr.
This marks the Lion’s ninth City title and the first under Fairfax head coach Reggie Morris Jr.
Coach Morris Jr. expressed what this win means for his program.
“It was a great experience. The guys really fought. They came. We punched them. They came back but we were able to withstand the final punch. Just all of what we’ve been showing them and teaching them throughout the year about being tough and being resilient we were able to pull off.”
Senior Tyler Bey came through down the stretch with four consecutive shots for Fairfax to will his team to victory. He finished with 22 points.
Coach Morris shared how proud he was of Bey’s performance.
“We just been working with him about being resilient and tough and fighting through and tonight I’ve been saying that this was their graduation and he graduated tonight. He fought the whole game. I’m very proud.”
Fairfax applied the pressure early on King/Drew with a full court press that rattled the Golden Eagles and jumped out to a 13-2 lead at the 5:05 mark in the first quarter.
Fairfax led 37-20 at halftime to stay in the driver’s seat.
The Lions came out of the locker room and went up by as many as 17 points 42-25 with 4:49 minutes remaining in the third quarter.
King/Drew’s Kalib LaCount dropped 33 points, with 15 points in the third quarter.
LaCount did everything in his power to charge a comeback.
The Golden Eagles cut the lead to eight 48-40 with thirty seconds left to bring the King-Drew crowd on their feet at the tail end of the third period.
“In any game people are going to make runs. Kalib [LaCount] is such a good player with a heart as big as all outside. I’m glad we were able to just kind of be close and keep fighting with him. We knew they were going to make a run, we just had to match the run,” said coach Morris Jr.
King/Drew’s Donald Thompson started draining threes to cut the lead to eight 66-58 once again with 2:48 remaining in the fourth quarter, but too much firepower propelled the Lions to come out on top.
Bey added an exclamation point with a monster dunk as the final seconds of the clock expired. He blew a kiss to the crowd.
“My teammates made sure that I had the mindset that I just had to take over and just have trust in everything in all of the work that we put in. I really appreciate my teammates for all of that and we just came through with the dub,” said Bey.
Both teams came into the game with an undefeated 10-0 league record.
Coach Morris Jr. reflected on the 2021-2022 season.
“Season was interesting because of Covid. We had two pauses during the season and it kind of kept us from our growing, but we were able to use that time to kind of get better and get closer. So now I think we’re playing our best basketball down the stretch. We’ve been able to string games and keep guys healthy and you can kind of tell right now.”
Coach Morris Jr. also shared his thoughts on his team’s run for the State title.
“Right now, State is the cherry on top. We had a young team. We started three tenth graders and a junior. Whatever we can get after this we’ll take. We just want to represent ourselves and do the best that we can.”