Felicia Benson, Cathy Gooden and Kim Thompson, who formed the foundation of a Compton High School team whose motto was "solid as a rock," head The Times' All-South Coast girls basketball team.
The three seniors led Compton to a 26-0 record and the Southern Section 4-A championship.
Benson, a three-year starter and a repeater on the All-South Coast team, averaged 12 points and 6 rebounds a game. As a sophomore she led the Moore League in scoring with a 20-point average but since then has developed into an all-around player who is being recruited by UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton. She is a 5-foot-9 guard.
Gooden, 5-5, was the Babes' point guard and the Moore League's Most Valuable Player. She averaged 18 points and 9 assists. She was quick but strong, and despite her size was not a player to be intimidated.
The aggressive Thompson was Compton's do-everything player. A 6-0 center, she averaged 14 points and 9 rebounds.
"She can pass, dribble and rebound and she plays outstanding defense," said Compton Coach Carolyn Montgomery. "That's what makes her a Division 1 college player."
Among the colleges interested in Thompson are Cal State Long Beach, Colorado, Missouri and Nevada Las Vegas.
"Her goal is to be the first 6-foot point guard," Montgomery said, "and she has the leadership to do it."
Montgomery will make sure Thompson doesn't get a big head.
A four-time All-American at the University of the District of Columbia, Montgomery often takes to the court with her players during practice, and Thompson likes to duel her one-on-one.
"When she was in the 10th grade, I could beat her bad," Montgomery said.
"When she was in the 11th grade, I let her beat me.
"This year, when she was in the 12th grade, I didn't want to hurt her feelings."
But Montgomery is one of the few people who is a match for Thompson, who made All-Moore League for the third straight year and All-South Coast for the second straight season.
Thompson, Benson and Gooden are three of 10 high school basketball players selected to the All-South Coast team, one of nine from Times' circulation areas that will be honored at The Times' annual prep basketball awards ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Harry Chandler Auditorium of the Times Mirror Building in downtown Los Angeles.
Player of the year and coach of the year will be announced during the ceremony. Cal State Long Beach Coach Joan Bonvicini is scheduled to be the guest speaker.
The selections were made by a vote of coaches and sportswriters.
The team's other members:
Marcine Edmonds, Poly--A 6-foot senior, Edmonds was a strong post player, averaging 16.5 points and 11 rebounds a game. Her teammates worked the ball into her and she responded by making 48% of her shots.
"She's an excellent jumper with good body control," said Poly Coach Sue Barker. "She's very coachable and gets along well with people."
Nicole McDonald, Lynwood--All the time she spent in the gym last summer paid off for this quick, 5-7 senior guard.
McDonald averaged 18 points and led the Knights to the San Gabriel Valley League title and the 4-A semifinals. She dribbled well with either hand and was an excellent defensive player. "When we needed points, she scored them," Coach Van Girard said of the hard-working McDonald.
Janice Parks, Mayfair--"She was one of the best players we faced this year," said Valley Christian Coach Eleanor Dykstra. "Unfortunately, she didn't play on a good team."
A 5-10 senior forward, Parks averaged 25 points and 15 rebounds. She could score from inside or out and was a team leader.
She will attend UCLA on a softball scholarship.
Natasha Parks, Regina Caeli--A 6-foot senior center, Parks was a scoring machine for a team that dominated the weak Sunshine League. She averaged 27 points a game, had 46 in one game and 44 in another.
Her rebounding was almost as impressive. She had 38 in one game and averaged 23, tops in the Southern Section. "Her timing for rebounding is phenomenal," said her coach, Luis Ramos.
It isn't bad for blocking shots either--she had 4.5 of those a game. A final impressive statistic is her grade point average: 3.7.
Jan Pearson, Millikan--She came back from a broken leg last year to average 12 points and 14 rebounds a game for the Rams, who finished 19-7.
A 6-3 junior center, she had 26 rebounds in one game. She is the sister of Long Beach City College star Derek Jones.
Patty Porter, Millikan--"A good athlete who's going to be a darned good player," said Millikan Coach Greg Pappas of Porter.
The 5-9 sophomore guard is already pretty good--she averaged 13 points as a good outside shooter and pulled down 7 rebounds a game. Like Pearson, she was an All-Moore League player.
Cynthia Robinson, Lakewood--A 5-10 senior, Robinson made the All-South Coast team for the second straight year. She averaged 13 points and 9 rebounds on a team that started three sophomores.
"She handled the ball about 90% of the time," said Lakewood Coach Dal Lawson. "She'd pass the ball and the other kids would pass it right back to her." As a result, Robinson was double- and triple-teamed all season.
South Coast All-Star Girls Team
Scoring Name, school Year Height Average Felicia Benson, Compton Senior 5-9 12.0 Marcine Edmonds, Poly Senior 6-0 16.5 Cathy Gooden, Compton Senior 5-5 18.0 Nicole McDonald, Lynwood Senior 5-7 18.0 Janice Parks, Mayfair Senior 5-10 25.0 Natasha Parks, Regina Caeli Senior 6-0 27.0 Jan Pearson, Millikan Senior 6-3 12.0 Patty Porter, Millikan Soph. 5-9 13.0 Cynthia Robinson, Lakewood Senior 5-10 13.0 Kim Thompson, Compton Senior 6-0 14.0