The girls basketball class of 1987 in the Southeast/Long Beach area has some of the best talent in the Southern Section.
Of 20 players selected to the All-Southeast or All-South Coast girls all-star teams in 1986 by The Times, 14 return.
Consider some of these returning players:
Kari Parriott, Valley Christian--The 6-2 center was one of the Southern Section leaders in scoring and rebounding as a junior. Last summer she was on a traveling team that placed seventh nationally in the prestigious Basketball Congress International Tournament. Parriott was named Most Valuable Player in the tournament for her age group. As a sophomore she was a key factor in Valley Christian's Southern Section title. She has signed to attend Oregon State.
Donna Pollema, Valley Christian--This smooth 6-0 forward is a three-year starter for Coach Eleanor Dykstra. She averages 15 points a game with shots from the top of the key. But she can go inside too, often battling Parriott for a rebound. She is a more complete player than Parriott.
Cindy Vyskocil, Whittier Christian--The 6-2 center could be Parriott's twin (they even look alike). But Vyskocil has the edge in shooting--she led the Southern Section in scoring last year. A member of the BCI team, she has signed to attend Arizona State.
Molly Wampler, Gahr--Another player on that BCI team. The 6-1 forward-center averaged 24 points and 12 rebounds last year and led Gahr to a 26-5 record.
Mandy Hannah, Compton--A 5-9 guard-forward, she also played on the BCI team. She is what Lady Babes Coach Carolyn Montgomery calls "just one of four top players returning."
Trise Jackson, Lynwood--As a sophomore last year she averaged 19.5 points. Her presence this year in the San Gabriel Valley League has Knight Coach Van Girard saying, 'It is possible (that we) will tie for first place with Gahr." A year ago Lynwood surprised the Gladiators and won the league title.
Trish Gibson, La Mirada--The 6-3 center averaged 12 rebounds last year, and while she's not known for scoring, she is the reason La Mirada is the preseason favorite to repeat as the Suburban League champion.
Bolvitta Estrada, Dominguez--Almost mysteriously, her name showed up as a Southern Section leader in rebounds (13.5) and scoring (20.8) at the end of last year after playing for the Dons in obscurity.
De De Mosman, St. Joseph--A 5-6 guard, she was voted the Most Valuable Player for age 16 and under at the BCI tournament.
A look at the league races:
Angelus--Mater Dei and St. Joseph should battle for the title. Mater Dei lost several front-line players to graduation. St. Joseph returns its best defender, Katie Brazelton, a Times All-Southeast choice last year. Don't count out Pius X. "They are going to surprise a lot of people," St. Joseph Coach Margaret Bos said.
San Gabriel Valley--It's Gahr and Lynwood, so what's new? Besides Wampler, Gahr returns Cheryl Humphrey, a 5-3 guard who averaged 15 points last year. Lynwood has four starters returning. Dominguez could challenge. Tom Pryor (Gahr) and Van Girard (Lynwood) are two of the Southern Section's best coaches.
Suburban--Lyle Lewinson at La Mirada said, "We should be in the upper division in our league." Still, the Matadors are weak at starting forward and guard. Because of its depth, Bellflower could upset. However, Buc Coach Robbie Beyer predicts a second place finish. Artesia is young, but has three players back.
Olympic--The battle between Vyskocil and Parriott will be almost as exciting as the series between Whittier Christian and Valley Christian. In 1985, Valley Christian barely finished third in the league, but won the Southern Section Small Schools Division title. Greg Fox steps into his first varsity coaching assignment at Whittier Christian. "It's a nice thing to start out as a coach with a player like Vyskocil," Fox said.
Camino Real--Coach Ed Lowe predicts that the Lady Saints are the team to beat this year. He expects trouble from St. Mary's and St. Bernard, although he said, "They'll have their hands full with us." All-league forward Corleta Cardriche returns. In Tamesha Hayes and Leanna Corral, Lowe says he has "the best pair of guards in the league."
Moore--Millikan, Lakewood and Compton are expected to battle for the title. Last year Millikan and Compton shared the crown. Including Hanna, Compton returns four players. Millikan, led by Pam Pearson, who averaged 15 rebounds and 15 points, returns three players. Millikan Coach Greg Pappas gives Compton a slight edge.
Whitmont--The perennial favorite is Montebello. "The league will be competitive with no clear-cut standout," said George Dayhuff of California. He predicts that Cal High will win the title. Cal could mount a serious challenge, said Bob Lum of El Rancho, who says his team will finish third.
Academy--Whitney High, under Coach Jodi Improta, joins the league and returns three players, including all-Southeast choice Debbie DeLeon, a 5-4 guard. Avalon is always a threat, if only because of the toll the boat ride there takes on opposing teams.
Foothill--Schurr Coach Steve Terry is reknowned for his ability to develop talent. But this season, he says, he may have a major job. "We need a lot of work," he said. "We have lots of new faces." Still, the Spartans, who went 16-8 a year ago, could be a factor.
In the City Section CIF--Area teams Huntington Park, Bell and host South Gate open the season in a 14-team tournament that begins this afternoon. Defending 3-A champion San Pedro is also entered. Bell meets Los Angeles Wilson at 2:30 and Huntington Park takes on Los Angeles University at 5 today. South Gate opens at 2:30 Friday against the Los Angeles Jordan junior varsity. The double elimination tournament concludes Dec. 13.