For coaches Mike Lowe and Archie Newton, it was the capper on a brilliant basketball season.
Lowe, boys coach at Wilson High School in Hacienda Heights, and Newton, girls coach at Muir in Pasadena, were named the Los Angeles Times San Gabriel Valley section coaches of the year at The Times' All-Star Basketball Awards Program at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim last week.
The pair shared the spotlight with their star players, Scott Williams of Wilson and Pauline Jordan of Muir, who were named the San Gabriel Valley players of the year.
Lowe, Newton, Williams and Jordan each received a trophy and certificate. The other nine players on the boys and girls All-San Gabriel Valley teams also received trophies and certificates, as did players on all-star teams from nine other Times circulation areas: San Diego, San Fernando Valley, South Bay, South Coast, Southeast, Westside, Glendale, Orange County and Central Los Angeles. The awards were provided by the Los Angeles Times Fund.
All-Valley Boys Team
The All-San Gabriel Valley boys team consists of Stacey Augmon of Muir, Ken Boldt of South Pasadena, Derwin Collins of Pomona, Kevin Cutler of Ganesha, Teddy Jones of Blair, Eric McArthur of South Pasadena, Kevin Partington of Damien, Travis Watkins of Claremont, Charles White of Monrovia and Williams.
The All-San Gabriel Valley girls team consists of Kelly Collins of Marshall Fundamental, Stephanie Coons of Wilson, Lisa Crosskey of Monrovia, Kristy Greenberg of Walnut, Rachonne Jones of Pasadena, Judy Mosley of La Puente, Rachel Norris of San Gabriel, Missy Phillips of Arroyo and twin sisters Geannine and Pauline Jordan of Muir.
Guest speaker at the ceremony was Jim Harrick, Pepperdine men's coach who guided the Waves to the West Coast Athletic Conference championship and a berth in the NCAA playoffs. The Waves lost in the first round to Maryland and finished teh season with a 25-5 record.
Lowe and Newton both guided their teams to 31-win seasons in only their second year as coaches. Under Lowe's direction, Wilson finished with a 31-3 record and won the state Division II championship. Newton coached Muir to a 31-1 finish and second place in the CIF Southern Section 4-A Division.
A Strong Program
Wilson was not exactly struggling before Lowe became coach two years ago. The school had their share of playoff contenders.
But it was Lowe who helped transform the Wildcats from playoff contender to title contender.
Lowe's first team, in the 1984-85 season, entered post-season play as the No. 4 seed in 3-A Division, only to lose to Damien in the second round of the playoffs and finish with a 21-5 record.
It was a much happier ending for the Wildcats this season. Wilson won its final 22 games, including a 72-46 victory over Aptos in the Division II title game in Oakland. Along the way, Wilson had defeated Ganesha (54-53) for the Southern Section 3-A Division title and El Camino of Oceanside (64-46) for the Southern California Division II championship.
The victory over Ganesha gave the Wildcats their second CIF Southern Section basketball title. Wilson defeated Arroyo Grande for the 2-A Division championship in 1970.
Second in 4-A
Newton would probably like to forget the way the season ended for his Muir team. After winning their first 31 games, the heavily favored Mustangs suffered a shocking 54-52 loss to Lynwood in double overtime in the 4-A Division title game. It was the third straight year that Muir placed second in the 4-A Division.
Nonetheless, it was an outstanding year for Muir, which had been ranked No. 1 in the nation by USA Today for most of the season. It was the first time that a team west of the Mississippi River had been ranked No. 1 by that publication.
Along the way, the Mustangs beat some national powers, including state Division I champion Point Loma of San Diego, Southern Section 3-A Division champion Brea-Olinda, 2-A Division champion Chino and New York power Christ the King.
Muir, which finished the season ranked No. 2 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports News of San Jose and No. 7 in the nation by USA Today, had also defeated Lynwood in two games earlier in the season.
Muir's success this year improved Newton's two-year record at the school to an impressive 58-3--among the best in the Southern Section.
Much of the credit for Muir's success goes to Pauline Jordan, a 6-3 center who became the first San Gabriel Valley girl to make the All-San Gabriel Valley team three straight years and win back-to-back player of the year honors.
Jordan is a three-time All-CIF performer who averaged 24 points and 13.5 rebounds as a senior.
Considered one of the finest players ever in the valley, Jordan made quite an impact on the Muir basketball program. In four years at the school her teams posted an impressive 102-6 record.