Beverly Hills (10-4) is coming off a narrow 49-48 win over Crossroads and may be in for another tough one when it opens Ocean League play at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Inglewood.
Beverly Coach Jack Dyck said that Inglewood, the league's second-place team last year, is "the most balanced team they've ever had; you can't really key on one person. They're the most improved team in the league by far."
Kenny Countryman, a Times All-Westside selection last year, has taken up where he left off. The 6-2 Beverly senior forward-guard is averaging 17.5 points and is playing his usual fine all-around game.
Dyck has been starting a front line that includes 6-2 junior center Wayne Thompson, who tops the team in rebounding, and 6-3 senior forward Mike Matousek. The guards are 5-10 junior Lionel McPherson and 6-2 senior Kahlil Kariem. Strength off the bench is provided by 5-8 senior guard Matt Morisaki and 6-7 center Patrick Cunningham, who both got a late start after a good football season.
Dyck said that McPherson did a fine defensive job on high-scoring Crossroads guard Marc Rudolph, holding him to 7 points.
Fairfax at Los Angeles
Fairfax, 11-1 as the week started, may not be tested until the 3-A city finals. But the Lions' second Western League game, at 4 p.m. Friday at Los Angeles, could be at least a pop quiz.
Harvey Kitani, Fairfax coach, said that Los Angeles may be in a rebuilding year but reconstruction job is on schedule.
The Lions, who won their second straight league championship last year and advanced to the 3-A city semifinals, have three top senior starters back in 5-11 point guard Jerome Jenkins, 6-5 forward Tony Thomas and 6-2 guard Dwayne Canada, and Kitani did not expect to do much rebuilding this year.
But the addition of 6-7 sophomore center Sean Higgins has added a new wing to the team's already imposing structure.
Kitani, whose team has only lost to Banning, 55-51, said that Higgins "has definitely taken some of the load off the seniors.