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PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- Venice is putting together a special season. Earlier this month, the team beat Westchester for the first time in more than 30 years and on Monday night, the Gondoliers improved to 8-0 in the Western League with a 54-43 road win over Palisades.

Head coach David Galley has been at the helm of the Venice boys basketball program since 2008. When he was asked what year Venice last won a Western League boys basketball championship, he responded: "who knows," with a smile.

It's been decades.

Monday's game against Palisades was tight for three and a half quarters before the Gondoliers pulled away late in the fourth.

"It's always a battle," Galley said. "Palisades is so well coached. They fight every possession."

Sophomore Tyler Hunt led Venice with 18 points. He padded the Gondolier lead multiple times in the fourth quarter following Palisades' buckets. With 5:00 left he scored a layup to put Venice ahead 40-33 and then with 3:40 to play he connected on a 3 extending the Gondolier advantage to 43-35.

Tyler-Hunt-Venice

"He's ahead of his time," Galley said of Hunt. "He keeps it together. He never gets too high or too low. He just stays the course. When he hits shots, even though he didn't hit them in the beginning tonight, it's nice to see him not get frustrated and just stay doing what Tyler does. He hit a couple of big jump shots. He's a very good basketball player."

Venice had three impact players out with injuries on Monday night including their starting point guard, Devyn Johnson. The senior has been in and out of the lineup due to a knee injury Galley described as "wonky."

"He rests it and then comes back, rests it and then comes back," Galley said.

The Gondoliers are hopeful Johnson plays on Wednesday when Venice travels to Fairfax, the Western League's other undefeated team at 7-0.

"This was the biggest game for me and now that this game is over, Fairfax is the next one," Galley said. "Both teams for right now are both undefeated in league so it should be interesting."

Venice will play Fairfax twice before the playoffs begin in addition to taking on Palisades and Westchester again. The league title race may end up coming down to the final few days of the regular season during the second week of February. Stay tuned...