For the most part, sportswriting is a job like any other job, except for the punctuation. Painting word pictures can be exhilarating, or as tedious as the multiplication tables. The memories of each event resemble the yield of a fishing expedition. Many are thrown back as too small or insignificant, but some are keepers. Fortunately, a trip to last weekend's state basketball tournament produced mostly keepers.
Picture: Crenshaw guard David Carter dribbles near the top of the key, his eyes searching the baseline for an open teammate. He stops, arching a lob pass well above the center of the basket. No one is in view.
Suddenly, forward Dion Brown rises from the lane like a rocket, soaring two feet above the rim, and without ever seeing the basket, slams down a powerful dunk.
The crowd is delirious and the Northern California press corps never again mentions that Logan, Crenshaw's opponent, has some real leapers.
Picture: Logan guard Kevin Mouton, heading for the University of Oregon in the fall, races for a loose ball, three Crenshaw defenders in hot pursuit. He reaches the ball and instantaneously throws a perfect full-court pass to a teammate for a layup. It's not particularly difficult when you're looking downcourt, but Mouton was facing the other basket.
Picture: The buzzer sounds, Crenshaw is a 72-62 winner and seniors Carter and Stanley Brundy share a high five and a hug. Their smiles are almost as big as teammate Stephen Thompson's feet.
Thompson, who may eventually rival Bob Lanier's popularity with shoe salesmen, is nicknamed Foots.
Picture: It is Sunday morning, less than 12 hours after Coach Willie West has won his second state basketball championship in three years, and he is strolling leisurely through the Oakland Airport, still carrying the huge trophy symbolic of his team's thrilling victory. He is all smiles, sharing an animated conversation with Troy Batiste, Saturday's hero, whose critical steal sent the game into the extra period.
Onlookers point, wave or approach and offer congratulations.
"The second time is definitely better," said West, whose team finished 24-0 and gave him his first perfect season since 1973. "The first time you don't appreciate how difficult it is to win the state. To come here and win is special."
Snapshots: Point Loma's talented sophomore, Terri Mann, arms raised in triumph after leading her team to its second straight state girls' championship. . . . The boys from Avenal, small in stature, with no starter over 6-1, scrapping, clawing and scratching to stay close against Folsom in a game it could have lost by 50. . . .The Commissioners of the various sections presenting championship trophies and knowing that if the Southern Section had not voted to drop out of the tournament, Commissioner Ray Plutko might have been standing at center court as many as four times.
Jim Barnett, football coach at Long Beach Poly since 1980, will be named the coach at Trabuco Hills High, a new school in Mission Viejo.
Trabuco Hills Principal Bill Brand had narrowed his list of applicants last week to two--Barnett and Cal State Long Beach assistant Steve Bresnahan. Over the weekend, he made a recommendation to the school board, which will vote on Brand's selection next Monday night.
Brand would not confirm that he had recommended Barnett, saying that it would be improper until the board had voted.
But it was learned that Barnett had been contacted Sunday and informed of the decision. Barnett, reached in Long Beach, would neither confirm, nor deny the report.
Bresnahan also refused to comment, but when asked if he would be back at Long Beach next season, he said, "I would certainly think so."
Barnett led Poly to a 10-2 record in 1984, losing to eventual Big Five champion Riverside Poly in the semifinals. The Jackrabbits reached the Big Five final in 1982, losing to Servite, 31-7.
Hawthorne track Coach Kye Courtney, who has won two state boys' titles in a row, is never satisfied. Last Saturday at Cal State Los Angeles, his sprint relay team of Henry Thomas, Michael Marsh, Michael Graham and Sean Kelly set an automatically timed national record of 3:21.15. It is regarded as the second best of all-time, since Berkeley ran a hand timed 3:21.1 in 1981.
"To tell you the truth I was a little disappointed," Courtney said. "I thought Henry (the defending state 100- and 200-meter champion) would go a little faster. I figured we'd be in the 19s."
Courtney may get his wish in April when the Cougars run the event again in the Mt. San Antonio Relays.