GHS falls short in Valley Tourney final

By Joe Snyder

Photo by Joe Snyder CHASE-ING THE DUNK—Gardena High’s Chase Williams prepares for a dunk during a recent boys’ basketball game. The Panthers finished second in the Ed Baker San Fernando Valley Tournament after falling to Venice 48-42 last Friday. Gardena visits Carson Friday at 4 p.m.

Gardena High boys’ basketball team finished second in the Ed Baker San Fernando Valley Classic after losing the final to Venice High 48-42 last Friday at Kennedy High in Granada Hills. It was the second time that the Panthers fell to the Gondoliers in tournament play. On Dec. 1, Venice rolled over Gardena 59-39 in the Mira Costa-Pacific Shores Tournament in Manhattan Beach. The Gondoliers went on to take third in that classic defeating a very good Brentwood team. That tournament was won by San Pedro Rolling Hills Prep which defeated the host Mustangs. Gardena ended up fifth in that tournament by topping West Torrance 50-45. Leading the Panthers was all-tournament player Chase Williams with 15 points. Also making the all-tournament team for Gardena was Jarren Ponds. He had 10 points. Williams averaged 16 points, while Ponds averaged 12 in the four-game tournament. In the final, the Panthers suited up only seven players. One of those players was injured last Thursday in Gardena’s 55- 48 win over host Grant High in Sepulveda. The Panthers were also still without 6-foot-9 center Promise Madubuguva, who injured his knee in a game last summer. On Jan. 5 at Grant, Gardena topped Chatsworth 48-44. The Panthers began the classic on Jan. 4 where they rolled over Sherman Oaks Center of Enriched Studies 71-32. Gardena took a 12-point (33- 21) lead at halftime before outscoring SOCES 38-11 in the second half, including 23-3 in the fourth quarter, to turn the game into a blowout. Williams led the Panthers with 24 points. Gardena, which was one of the very few South Bay teams to play last week due to several other local contests being postponed or canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak surge caused by the omicron variant, resumed the Marine League at home against Rancho Dominguez Prep from Long Beach on Wednesday. The Panthers visit Carson on Friday at 4 p.m. and Narbonne next Wednesday at the same time.