Not to get technical, but San Pedro High's final regular-season basketball game ended on an odd note last Friday at Bell High when Pirates Coach Jack Kordich was hit with two technical fouls in the third quarter, automatically ending the game under City Section rules. The game went as a victory for Bell, which led at the time, 53-42.
What makes that notable is that Kordich is not noted for abusing referees and did not use obscene language, and his team was trying to stretch a 28-game league winning streak.
Kordich doesn't need much prodding to claim that the referee who called the technicals was "incompetent. . . . He had lost control of the game." But the San Pedro coach also stoically takes some of the blame because he regularly insists that his team maintain its cool and not talk to officials.
"I preach discipline, and I broke my rule myself," he said this week as he prepared for Friday's City 3-A playoff opener against Chatsworth. "I'm very hard on my players (in teaching) the ref is always right. I've maybe gotten three or four technicals my whole career. I'm not really known as a hothead coach because I feel it's a bad influence on the players. But he let it get out of hand."
When the official booted Kordich, courtside witnesses say Kordich's strongest language was along the lines of, "If that's not a foul then I've never seen one."
The official had already called technicals on two Pirates players and Kordich feels that he "baited us after that. . . . You can excuse incompetence when he was calling a lousy game both ways. But he lost control and just wanted to get out of there. He called a couple of technicals on my players for nothing. Then I protested. I didn't use any foul language or anything. He called a technical on me for protesting the call, then I guess he called a second one and said 'You're gone.' The other coach was as surprised as I."
The loss didn't affect San Pedro's standing as champion of the Eastern Marine League but it meant the Pirates lost their first league game since early 1983. "We're in the same position we'd have been in otherwise, but it hurts--I hate to lose that streak," Kordich said.
"I had a lousy weekend."
Scowl of the year may belong to Cal State Dominguez Hills basketball player Brian Edwards, whose visage during a game is reminiscent of Sidney Wicks at UCLA. Wicks' Sonny Liston-like glare was known to have intimidated more than one opponent before the game began. Edwards calls it his "game face."
The sophomore from Crenshaw High has started all season for the Toros and has improved constantly after playing sparingly as a freshman. During a game, his intensity is so high that when he makes a mistake he sometimes has to be removed to cool down. Several times this year, most recently last weekend, Edwards has angrily berated himself on the bench after committing a turnover or missing a shot.
The 6-4 Edwards was born in Guyana and knew little of basketball when he came to Los Angeles at age 13. He did not play on the Crenshaw varsity until his senior year, when he was a part-time starter on the Cougars' state championship team.
Toros Coach Dave Yanai says one reason for Edwards' rapid improvement is his concentration, which is reflected on his face during games.
"When I go out on the court I go out to give 101% and win," Edwards said. "I'm very intense and serious about basketball, and when I put on my game face it's my way of psyching myself for the game."
It must work. Edwards was high scorer for the Toros in both victories last week.