The City Eastern League has been the focus for most San Diego County boys' basketball observers this season. The battle for the two San Diego Section playoff berths among the league's six teams has gained a lot of attention.
Meanwhile, two other City teams have built perfect league records without much fanfare. University High (7-0 in league and 15-6 overall) of the City Western League, and Lincoln High (7-0, 12-6) of the City Central League have dominated their respected leagues.
"I don't mind (not getting much attention)," University Coach Pat Murphy said. "The kids would rather have more exposure, but I'd rather have them concentrating on playing the game."
Of the Dons' six losses, five were against 3-A schools. Murphy says the losses bothered his players, but he said playing against stronger teams helped them.
"The losses are going to come, but it's a good learning experience for the kids," Murphy said. "Even if they're losses they help. We only have two players (guard Sean Giles and forward James Wilson) with much varsity experience."
Giles, who is averaging 16.9 points per game, has been a key in the Dons' success.
"He's improved defensively, and he's averaging about six rebounds and six assists a game," Murphy said. "Greg Lee (who played guard on two UCLA national championship teams), says he's the best guard in the county."
Lincoln, however, doesn't have an established star.
"We have nine guys that can score," Coach Ron Loneski said. "Omar McDade (15 points per game) is our leading scorer, but we have a lot of guys with about 8 or 9 points per game."
Lincoln has won 13 of its last 15 games. But the seven-game win streak was almost broken Friday night against Christian, a team the Hornets had beaten 82-51 earlier in the season.
With Lincoln leading 43-42, the Patriots' best free throw shooter, Jon Okken, missed a one-and-one with three seconds left. Lincoln rebounded and held on to win.
"I doesn't bother me that we don't get a lot of recognition as long as we keep winning," Loneski said.
Zero hour approaches: Though the first official day to sign national letters of intent is Wednesday, many San Diego football players already have decided where they will play next fall.
Crawford High's Mark Hayes is the latest to choose his college. Hayes, a 6-foot 7-inch, 235-pound defensive end, will attend Arizona State. Hayes was the City Central League's co-defensive player of the year.
Hayes said he looked at Oregon State, Colorado and California before narrowing his choices to ASU and San Diego State.
Vista quarterback Sal Aunese, one of the county's most recruited players, has narrowed his choices to Colorado, Nebraska and Hawaii.
Aunese went to Hawaii last weekend, but Vista Coach Dick Haines said Aunese is keeping an open mind.
"He only took three trips," Haines said. "He turned down trips to Michigan, Ohio State and Texas. He wouldn't go to those three if he wasn't interested in them.
"He likes the idea of being able to both throw and run the ball. He could do that at all three. He didn't know which he'd choose when I talked to him on Thursday."
Aunese, the Times' all-county first-team quarterback, led the Panthers to the 3-A title. He was recently ranked as the nation's 27th best player by Max Emfringer's National High School Scouting Service.
San Diego County players who have made verbal commitments: Vista running back Roger Price (BYU); Vista linebacker Brina Lockwood (UCLA); Poway quarterback Andy Byrne (Colo. St.); Monte Vista defensive back Melvin McFarlin (Utah St.); Helix offensive lineman Aaron Christian (UNLV); Helix safety Jeff Hammerschmidt (Arizona); Orange Glen quarterback Brett Salisbury (BYU); Torrey Pines offensive lineman Steve Casper (UTEP); Bonita Vista linebacker David Woodhouse (SDSU); Montgomery running back Darryl Crawford (SDSU); and Morse lineman Demetrius Bell (SDSU).
Not hurt by injury: Most basketball teams would see a quick drop in their winning percentage if they lost their top scorer, top rebounder and an All-American for three games.
Not at Point Loma High.
Terri Mann, who was named the San Diego Section's most valuable player last season as a sophomore, has not played the last three games because of a sprained ankle. Before she went out Mann was the county's second-leading scorer, averaging 25.7 points a game.
But the Pointers, who are ranked No. 1 in the county and third in the state, have won convincingly without her. Pt. Loma beat its three opponents by an average of 42 points.
"Chanelle (McCoy), Jessica (Benton) and Michelle Collum have picked up the slack for us," said Coach Lee Trepanier. "We're a role-playing team. When teams have tried to stop Terri this year, they've found we're pretty balanced."
Trepanier said Mann will play Tuesday against Morse at Pt. Loma High.