Los Angeles Preps: D.J. Morgan
March, 5, 2011
By Pedro Moura | ESPNLosAngeles.com
LOS ANGELES -- Taft boys' basketball coach Derrick Taylor couldn't stop grinning as he walked off the Galen Center court following Saturday's CIF City Section Division I championship game -- well, as he tried to walk off.
Because he couldn't. His wife was waiting patiently, just a quick glance away, by the tunnel, and his players were waiting eagerly for him in the locker room, but fans kept approaching him left and right, a number of new obstacles presenting themselves each step he took. It took Taylor two minutes to get from under the basket to the bench, another two minutes to get from in front of the bench to behind the bench and another two minutes to get from there to the tunnel.
Finally, he had a little bit of space, embracing his wife and attempting to head to the locker room to address his team. But the media beckoned, and Taylor decided to wait just a few more minutes to give his players the congratulations he said they deserved.
"I guess this is my Andy Warhol moment," he quipped.
That's what happens when you beat Westchester. Taylor in his 11th year at Taft, had accomplished a number of worthwhile things in the world of high school basketball, but he had never managed to beat the Comets and legendary coach Ed Azzam in the City Section playoffs. Three times he had tried --- including each of the previous two years -- and three times he had failed.
Taylor's top-seeded Toreadors finally succeeded Saturday, topping Westchester, 66-62, in a spirited effort behind 20 points and 14 rebounds from senior forward C.J. Blackwell and 14 points and 12 assists from point guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
"Coach Taylor had been 0-3 against Westchester in the finals," said Taft forward Stephen Maxwell, who had 18 points and nine rebounds. "He always talks about how he wants to beat Westchester.
"So to come out here and play as hard as we possibly could, it should be a big thing for him."