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Notebook / Ray Ripton : Player of Year Chris Mills Leads Teammates to 4-A Honors

March 19, 1987|RAY RIPTON

The choice of junior Chris Mills of Fairfax High School as Los Angeles City 4-A player of the year was no surprise.

Mills was chosen this week by the First Interstate Bank-Amateur Athletic Foundation, which also named Mills' mates in the front court, seniors Sean Higgins and J. D. Green to the All-City 4-A team. Westchester sophomore Zan Mason was another 4-A selection, and Venice Senior Oliver Lang was named to the 3-A team.

Fairfax Coach Harvey Kitani said that although Higgins had another fine year, it was Mills who carried the team to the 4-A City championship. Last week the Lions lost to Mater Dei, 46-42, in the Southern California Regional Division I title game and finished with a 26-1 record.

Last year Higgins averaged 25.9 points a game, but his average dropped to 22.8 this season, a year in which he was undoubtedly distracted by the controversy over his signing a letter of intent with UCLA and later being released from it. Higgins, the 3-A City player of the year as a sophomore, now plans to attend the University of Michigan.

Meanwhile, Mills raised his scoring average from 18.5 points last year to 26.2 points this season and led his team in rebounding with an average of 12 a game.

The choice of West Los Angeles basketball Coach Charles Sands as co-coach of the year in the first season of competition of the Southern California Athletic Conference was surprising even to Sands. But he was overdue to receive that kind of award.

Sands has spent 17 seasons at WLAC as its only basketball coach, and has usually made do without top prospects and a lineup that is lacking in tall timber. But his teams are generally tough to beat.

He said that receiving the award with Jim White, coach of Harbor College's conference champions, "was flattering and surprising. This is an honor that really means something to me. To be selected by your peers for your work is really special."

This year the Oilers finished 15-14 overall and fourth in the conference at 7-5 but they handed Harbor its only conference defeat and went on to the Southern California Regional before losing to powerful Saddleback.

WLAC sophomore La Var Ball, a 6-5 forward from Canoga Park High School, was named to the all-conference team. Ball averaged 22.8 points and 12.2 rebounds a game. Oiler freshman forward Cecil Whitmore from Westchester, a brother of St. Bernard star David, received honorable mention for the all-conference team. Whitmore averaged 15.3 points this season.

Pepperdine has had men's golf teams before, fielding players from 1964 to 1971 and reviving the program in 1982. But it had never had a winning team.

That was until Coach Bob Yokoi and his Waves startled the world of college golf by edging UC Irvine and No. 7 USC by one stroke and winning the Southern California tournament, held at the Torrey Pines Country Club near San Diego.

Pepperdine finished with a team total of 592 to 593 for the Anteaters and the Trojans. UC Santa Barbara was fourth at 595, and Cal State Long Beach and UCLA tied for fifth, with 597. Pepperdine's Jim Johnson also won the 36-hole individual section of the tourney with sub-par rounds of 67 and 68.

Yokoi, also the head professional at North Ranch Country Club, said that the tournament win "was quite an accomplishment for our program. We beat USC and UCLA, and those two programs rank among the best in collegiate golf."

Santa Monica College sophomores Derick Gathers and Randall Moos were named to the All-Western State Conference basketball team, and SMC freshman Michael Courtney received honorable mention. Gathers' brother Hank was a redshirt sophomore at Loyola Marymount this season.

The number 2 must have some mystical significance for Jack Cairl of West Los Angeles.

Cairl, a golfer for just two years, scored his first hole in one recently at Rancho Park Golf Course's nine-hole layout. He used a wedge to ace the 98-yard fourth hole. When he reached the 100-yard seventh hole he got out his trusty wedge again, and again hit his first shot into the hole.

Dick Reinsma, a starter at Rancho for 22 years, said that Cairl's two holes in one round constituted a first in his years at the course.

Cairl didn't finish two under par for his round, however. He shot a 31, four over.

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