Jan. 12--With a teachers' strike looming on Monday in the Los Angeles Unified School District that would shut down most high school sports competitions in the City Schools, charter schools Birmingham and El Camino Real are among the few schools that will be allowed to keep playing. And what a game they had on Friday night in the West Valley League.

Birmingham, lacking size, fell behind by 14 points in the first half and was down by nine points at halftime. Then Corey Cofield scored 10 of his 20 points to rally the Patriots and send them to a six-point lead through three quarters.

The game was tied 55-55 with 17.2 seconds left. El Camino Real had the ball but Jahville Collins' shot didn't fall, and Birmingham's Tylin Jarrett scooped up the loose ball among a scramble at half court and scored on a layup at the buzzer for a 57-55 Birmingham victory.

"Solid defense and fight," Birmingham coach Nick Halic said of his team's success. "It doesn't matter about height. We're not soft."

Said Jarrett: "That steal was a team effort."

Collins finished with 21 points for El Camino Real, which dropped to 11-7 overall and 1-1 in the league. Birmingham is 10-10 and 2-0. Both schools won't be playing more than one game a week if a strike takes place starting Monday. They can play themselves only one more time in league play or face fellow charter school member Granada Hills.

Halic doesn't even know if his team will have its usual Saturday practice, knowing the next game probably won't be until Jan. 18 against Granada Hills.

"What do you do all week?" he said. "I feel real bad for Westchester and Fairfax. They have a lot of seniors."

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