The monkey is finally off the backs of the Muir High boys basketball team. After surprisingly falling in early rounds of the CIF playoffs the last two years, the powerful Mustangs have finally advanced to the 4-A Division quarterfinals. The third-seeded Mustangs, 26-2, will meet San Gorgonio at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Blair High in Pasadena. San Gorgonio, which won the Citrus Belt League, is 23-3. If form holds true, this should be a high-scoring game since both teams feature fast-paced offenses. But Muir has a size advantage with 6-8 senior forward Stacey Augmon and 6-7 Wayne Womak, a rapidly improving sophomore, on its front line. Muir has defeated Warren (60-48) and Mission Viejo (69-58) in the first two rounds and San Gorgonio has beaten Moreno Valley (79-78) and Inglewood (71-65).
Ganesha vs. Pomona
It does not have to be a playoff game to make this an emotional contest for these cross-town rivals. The fact that it is a 3-A quarterfinal matchup figures to add to the intensity. The game is at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Chaffey High in Ontario. Ganesha, the Hacienda League champion and top-seeded in 3-A, is 26-1 and Pomona is 17-6. Ganesha has coasted since the start of league play but the Giants figure to receive a much stronger test the rest of the way. Pomona may pose problems for Ganesha with its tall starting lineup that includes 6-5 forward Tyrone Greer, 6-5 guard Derwin Collins and 6-10 center Marcellus Lee. Ganesha will counter with 6-7 center Kevin Cutler and 6-4 point guard Oliver Cunningham, the team's floor leader. Ganesha has easily won its first two games in the playoffs, 74-50 over Burroughs (Burbank) and 90-77 over Troy. Pomona has beaten Bolsa Grande (89-84) and El Dorado (70-66).
Claremont vs. Wilson
Claremont has been impressive in rolling to the Baseline League title and two easy victories in the 3-A playoffs. But the Wolfpack figures to have a much more difficult time when it faces Wilson in the quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Workman High in Industry. Claremont has a 22-5 record and Wilson, which won the Sierra League, is 25-3 and is seeded No. 3 in the division. The big question may be whether Claremont can contain 6-10 Wilson center Scott Williams, who is averaging 20 points and 12 rebounds. Williams poured in 28 in Wilson's 63-50 victory over Valencia in the second round Tuesday. The burden of guarding Williams will fall on Claremont's 6-8 senior Dan McGwire, who is averaging 15 points and 13 rebounds. Claremont also has an excellent outside shooter in 6-2 guard Travis Watkins, who averages 21 points. Watkins and McGwire, you may recall, led the Wolfpack to the CIF Eastern Conference football title the last two years.
Blair vs. Charter Oak
In another all-San Gabriel Valley matchup, Rio Hondo League champion Blair will meet Charter Oak in a 2-A quarterfinal at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Royal Oak High. Blair, seeded No. 3 in 2-A, has a 23-3 record and Charter Oak is 20-4. Blair has made it look easy in defeating Victor Valley (69-53) and El Monte (52-29) in the playoffs. For Charter Oak to prevent Blair from making it three in a row, the Chargers will have to find a way to offset Blair's outstanding speed. Blair is led by 6-6 center Teddy Jones, 6-4 forward Dion Smith and 6-1 guard Alcus McCullough. Charter Oak, which has defeated Calexico (76-56) and Notre Dame-Riverside (40-38) in the playoffs, is led by 6-8 junior center Jim Farris and 6-1 senior guard Mark Smith, who scored 12 points against Notre Dame.
Final Valley Top 10 Prep Teams
Rank, School, League Record 1 Muir (Pacific) 24-2 2 Ganesha (Hacienda) 24-1 3 Wilson (Sierra) 23-3 4 Claremont (Baseline) 20-5 5 Blair (Rio Hondo) 22-3 6 Pomona (Baseline) 15-6 7 Damien (Baseline) 19-7 8 Nogales (Sierra) 18-7 9 Charter Oak (Montview 19-4 10 South Pasadena (Rio Hondo) 18-6
OTHERS: Glendora (17-9), Mountain View (18-4), San Dimas (20-4), Temple City (17-8).
Final Valley Top 10 Girls' Teams
Rank, School, League Record 1 Muir (Pacific) 27-0 2 Walnut (Sierra) 22-4 3 San Gabriel (Foothill) 19-4 4 Wilson (Sierra) 19-5 5 Charter Oak (Montview) 20-3 6 La Puente (Valle Vista) 17-5 7 Monrovia (Rio Hondo) 17-4 8 Pasadena (Pacific) 16-9 9 San Dimas (Montview) 14-9 10 Pomona (Baseline) 14-7
Others: Edgewood (14-5), Marshall Fundamental (15-4), San Marino(13-6).