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The Preps / Scott Howard-Cooper : Crossroads Heading Back to Oakland

March 18, 1987|SCOTT HOWARD-COOPER

Only one area team will be making a second straight trip to Oakland for the state basketball finals Saturday, the same team that recently tied a record by appearing in its sixth consecutive Southern Section title game. But to notice this team, people either have to live in or near Santa Monica, or arrive at the Sports Arena first thing in the morning on championship day.

That's when Crossroads High of Santa Monica usually does its best work. Crossroads won 1-A titles in 1986 and '87 and Small Schools championships in 1982 and '83. This year, besides winning its second straight Division III Southern California Regional, the Roadrunners also tied L.A. Verbum Dei for the Southern Section record with six straight appearances in the finals. Verbum Dei made the finals every year from 1969 through '74.

Even though 6-foot 8-inch center David Wolfe is averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds and was also one of the top players last season, Crossroads usually wins with its guards. Wolfe is the first one to say that.

Last season, when the Roadrunners lost in the state title game, Keith Davis and Marc Rudolph, both All-Southern Section selections, led the way. This season, with all five starters shooting 50% or better from the field, it has been Chris Brown, averaging 15.5 points a game; Matt Bailey, 12, and Mike Arnold, 11.4.

"The school has always had good guard play," first-year coach Dave Benezra said after the Roadrunners beat La Habra Whittier Christian for the 1-A title. "At any level that's important, but at the 1-A it's particularly important. You win a lot with just the guards."

That comes as no surprise to many Crossroads players, who worked with Benezra in summer leagues.

"He's always saying that big guys are the mental midgets," Brown said. "The little guys are the brains of the show. The big guys don't know what to do out there. We're the conductors, we make everything work."

The Roadrunners will take a 16-game winning streak into Saturday's game against Northern California champion Colusa. Their 24-5 record includes wins over two Southern Section titlists, Santa Monica of the 4-A and Saugus of the 3-A.

Sylmar pitcher Olonzo Woodfin, a 6-4 junior left-hander, is 4-0 and has allowed just three hits and one earned run in 17 innings. He struck out 16 last Thursday in an 8-1 East Valley League win over Fairfax to run his total to 41.

"Right now, he's just overpowering," Sylmar Coach John Klitsner said. "He's throwing strikes and throwing the ball hard. He's always had a good arm. Now, he's pitching instead of just throwing it."

Craig Turley of the Diamond Bar soccer team finished the season with 67 goals, 10 more than the previous California Interscholastic Federation record, and 190 in his career, 43 more than the old state mark. His goals gave the Brahmas their 2-1 win in the Southern Section 3-A championship game.

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Prep Notes Fairfax dropped from 2nd to 12th in USA Today's national basketball rankings after losing to Mater Dei in the Division I Southern California Regional final last Saturday. Mater Dei moved up from ninth to third. . . . Gary Kimbrell has resigned after 10 years as football coach at Miraleste of Rancho Palos Verdes. . . . Kim Powers, a three-sport athlete at Burbank Burroughs, plans to sign with Indiana to play softball. She was All-Foothill League for three years for the Indians in basketball, and in softball was all-league as a sophomore and junior and is batting about .400 so far this season as a catcher. She also played volleyball. . . . Applications are available at school counseling offices for the CIF scholar-athlete award. One boy and one girl will be selected, with a sponsorsing shoe company donating $1,000 to the winners' schools. . . . Bill Novikoff, who coached football at Verdugo Hills from 1966-80, will return in 1987, replacing Gregg Gentry, who was fired last season. . . . The Football Coaches Professional Growth Assn. will hold a clinic March 28 at L.A. Salesian. The speakers include Steve Schafer of the Rams, Steve Fairchild of New Mexico, Dick Mannini of Stanford, Bob Field of UCLA, Bob Burt of Cal State Northridge, Mike Churchill of Riverside Poly, Tom Strickland of Salesian, former Pasadena Muir Coach Jim Brownfield and former San Diego Charger wide receiver Charlie Joiner. For more information call (619) 748-7566.

Miguel Olmedo has been named football coach at St. Paul of Santa Fe Springs, succeeding Rick Ready. Olmedo, a St. Paul graduate, spent last season as an assistant coach at UC Santa Barbara. . . . Andre Patterson has been hired to coach baseball and football at Santa Monica St. Monica. . . . Larry Armstrong has resigned as football coach at Pomona Ganesha after guiding the Giants to seven playoff appearances in eight years. . . . Point guard Michelle Santino of Redwood High in Larkspur, Calif., said she will sign to play basketball for USC. She is the daughter of former Trojan center fielder Tony Santino, a standout in the mid-1950s.

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