If non-league play is any indication, the road to the Pacific League basketball championship stops at Glendale High. With their 12-0 non-league record and the No. 1 ranking in the CIF 4-A Division, the Dynamiters are the title favorites. That adds importance to Friday's Pacific League opener between these schools, particularly for Pasadena. The game is at 7:30 p.m. at Pasadena High.
This was expected to be a rebuilding year for Pasadena, but it has a sparkling 10-3 record. The key for the Bulldogs on offense has been 6-2 senior guard Tommy Bryant. Pasadena has also played well on defense.
That defense will be severely tested by a Glendale team that has its share of offensive weapons including 6-2 senior guard Rich Grande, the team's top scorer who has signed a national letter of intent to attend USC next year, and 6-8 senior center Jan Svoboda, who has signed with UC Berkeley. With Svoboda, Bob Mulcahey (6-7) and Fred Bickett (6-5) on its front line, Glendale will have a size advantage over the Bulldogs, whose tallest player is 6-5 sophomore Raynell Tillis.
Muir vs. Crescenta Valley It will be a battle of scorers' machines when Muir hosts Crescenta Valley in the Pacific League opener for both teams at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Pasadena.
Muir is led by 6-5 senior forward Tony Akins, who is averaging 24 points a game, and Crescenta Valley is headed by 6-3 junior guard Harvey Mason, averaging 26 points a game.
It's also a match-up of two pretty good teams that played well in recent Christmas tournaments. Muir is 11-3 after placing second to Lynwood in the Covina Tournament, and Crescenta Valley is 10-4 after finishing second to Cleveland in the Hart Tournament. Mason, the latest in a long line of scoring sensations to play at Crescenta Valley, is the top player for the Falcons, but they also have another standout, 6-4 senior forward Drew Haberl, who averages about 17 points a game.
With a front line that includes Akins, junior Stacy Augmon (6-7) and senior Dennis Price (6-6), Muir will have the size advantage. Augmon, considered an outstanding college prospect, is averaging 12 points and six rebounds a game and Price 9 points and 11 rebounds.
Pomona vs. Glendora Coaches single out Pomona as the team to beat for the Baseline League championship, but that doesn't mean the Red Devils will walk away with the top spot. Pomona, which has an 8-3 overall record and was ranked No. 1 in the CIF 3-A Division pre-season poll, is expected to face a strong challenge from Damien and Glendora.
The Red Devils visit Glendora for what could be a difficult league contest at 8 p.m. Friday. With a starting front line consisting of forwards Ron Draper (6-8) and Lamont Carruthers (6-7) and center Marcellus Lee (6-9), Pomona may have the tallest team in Southern California. The leader is Draper, a senior who averages 21 points. Pomona has also received strong play from its starting guards, 5-8 senior Charles Biggers (10 points a game) and 6-4 sophomore Derwin Collins (11 points a game).
Glendora, which does not start a player taller than 6-4, is led by 6-4 forwards Robert Conklin and Sean McCain and guards Scott Mulder (6-0) and Brent Jacobsen (5-11). The Tartans, 5-5, beat out Pomona for the league title last year.
Nogales vs. Wilson It will not take long to establish the favorite in the Sierra League since the two top contenders meet in their league opener at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Nogales High in La Puente. Both teams are considered among the powers in the San Gabriel Valley and both had outstanding non-league seasons. Wilson is 9-4 and Nogales is 11-4.
The game also features two of the top big men in the Valley. Nogales has intimidating 6-9, 240-pound center Bruce Wheatley, a senior who has signed a national letter of intent to attend the University of Arizona next year, and Wilson has 6-8 junior standout Scott Williams, who averages 19 points and 10 rebounds. Two other key players for Wilson are point guard David Dagampat (5-10) and guard Scott Richardson (5-10). Besides Wheatley, Nogales has an imposing fast break that is spearheaded by players such as John Nichols and Paul Seeley, a pair of 6-4 forwards.