There's been a changing of the guard in CIF high school basketball this year that is reflected in who is not in this week's opening round of playoffs--St. Bernard and Serra.
It's not unusual for teams to have down years. What is unusual this time is that both schools probably had the two most talented players in the South Bay--David Whitmore at St. Bernard and James Moses at Serra.
Normally, players of that caliber can at least lift a club to playoff contention.
But that didn't happen this year. Whitmore, a senior headed to Georgia Tech, averaged 22 points and closed out his three-year varsity career with 31 against Bishop Montgomery. St. Bernard is out of the playoffs for the first time in this decade, however, because Whitmore got sick in midseason, then hurt a knee and played hobbled down the stretch. His supporting cast was extremely inexperienced and had problems playing when Whitmore missed a couple of games and was below par in several others.
In its first season in the Angelus League--which was dominated by powerful Mater Dei--St. Bernard was swept aside by schools normally recognized for their football programs: Bishop Amat and St. Paul.
Serra, which reached the CIF 5-A finals a year ago and had much of the team intact, is out because the Cavaliers lacked cohesion for much of the season. They played better the last week and a half but couldn't climb back into the Camino Real League's top three. Also out--longtime power Verbum Dei. The league upstarts were Pius X, St. Monica and St. Anthony's.
Serra slumped despite Moses, who led the South Bay in scoring with a 25-point average, the return of slick point guard Darvin Jackson and the double-figure scoring of Terry Newman and Derrick Gouthier.
Serra Coach George McDaniel admitted that it seems "kind of strange" to be sitting home this week. "We just never put it together as a team. Everybody played as individuals. The latter part of the season we kind of jelled, but it was too late. You had to come to play every Wednesday and Friday in the Camino Real League. There were five legitimately good teams and (last place) Murphy wasn't that bad."
McDaniel will return eight players next season led by the 6-5 Moses and 6-3 Newman. Moses, who figures to be heavily recruited as a tall guard by colleges, will play forward and McDaniel is hoping for more inside power from his star.
"We're going to work on his strength over the summer, get him on the weights," McDaniel said. "He should be real dynamic on the boards next year."
How could a team struggle with such a good player in the lineup? "The guys around him were inconsistent, and sometimes he was inconsistent too," McDaniel said.
Twenty members of the 1986 El Camino College football team have signed with four-year schools. The Warriors, long noted for offense, sent 11 offensive players--3 of them wide receivers and 3 others running backs--plus kicker Doug Pfaff on to the university level. Pfaff will join offensive linemen Keith Gibson and Dave Roney at Arizona. Cal State Fullerton signed defensive lineman Ron Gordon, running back Vea Manu and linebacker Joe Scott.
Others who signed are wide receiver Tony Nettles, San Diego State; wide receiver Shawn Hodges, San Jose State; defensive lineman Dennis McConnaughy, Cal State Northridge; linebacker Neff Siu, Cal State Long Beach; offensive lineman Randy Coleman, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; running back Dave Young, UC Santa Barbara; wide receiver Mike Wimberly, Washington State; running back Rod Trammel, Nevada-Las Vegas; defensive back Tyrone Carter, Illinois State; quarterback Craig Kennedy, Nevada-Reno; defensive back Robert Justin, Youngstown State (Ohio); offensive lineman Willie Dillard, Akron; linebacker Roy Tavui, Northern Arizona, and defensive lineman Jon Hill to Florida.
Around the Horn: Rick Biedler of South Torrance broke the school soccer scoring record over the weekend, getting three goals against West Torrance to give him 30 for the season. He got a good jump on the mark when he recently scored six straight goals in an 8-0 victory over North Torrance. That gave him a string of eight over two games. The six broke the school record of five in a game and made him one of only three South players to score 20 goals in a season. Biedler broke the season mark of 28 set by Larry Levesque in 1969