It was 10 years ago today that the Palisades High boys basketball team routed visiting Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies 71-43 to improve to 5-2 in Western League play. Junior co-captain Donovan Johnson led the Dolphins with 15 points, eight rebounds, two assists and a block, senior guard Adam Griffin added 13 points, junior forward Tyler Duke had 10 points and four steals and junior forward Josh Burton pulled down 10 rebounds as the home team raced to an insurmountable 43-25 halftime lead. Rounding out the Dolphins’ varsity boys squad that year were senior forward Everett Osborne, senior point guard Nathan Nazarian, senior guard Malcolm Creer (also the leading rusher on the football team), junior point guard Dominick Brown, junior forward Brenden Otero, junior forward Kahlil Johnson, senior forward Ilya Ilyayev, junior forward Alex Frapech and junior forward Christian Boyer.
Palisades went on to finish second in league under head coach James Paleno and beat South Gate and Crenshaw before falling to eventual champion Taft 78-59 in the semifinals of the City Section Division I playoffs at USC’s Galen Center despite 15 points and seven assists from Donovan Johnson. The Dolphins qualified for the state tournament but lost to top-seeded Long Beach Poly 77-46 in the first round of the Division I bracket. Palisades beat rival Fairfax twice in league and finished the season with an overall record of 18-14. Paleno piloted the program for two more years before resigning in June 2013 after 22 seasons, during which time he led the Dolphins to a 416-172 record and three league titles. Donovan Johnson was the team’s high scorer during the 2010-11 campaign, averaging 15.9 points, 2.7 assists and 2.7 steals per game. As a senior the next season Johnson averaged 20.8 points while powering the Dolphins to the City Division I quarterfinals, where they were upset 68-66 by Crenshaw. He earned All-City honors and would go on to score a total of 99 points in 29 games (3.41 points per game) as a freshman at Cal State Northridge in 2012-13.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.