Muir High of Pasadena has had one of the most successful athletic programs in the San Gabriel Valley in recent years, and if results of the preliminary rounds of the 20th annual L. A. Games are indicative, next season could produce more of the same.
The Mustangs have reached the quarterfinals in girls basketball and boys water polo and the final 16 in boys basketball and passing-league football.
Muir is one of two valley teams remaining in boys basketball along with Bishop Amat. In Saturday's round of 16 at El Camino College in Torrance, Bishop Amat faces Cleveland at 9 a.m. and Muir meets Verbum Dei at 10. The winners meet in the quarterfinals at 11. The semifinals and finals are Sunday.
With only one starter, 6-8 forward Wayne Womack, from last year's Pacific League championship team, Muir Coach Mike O'Connor said he is surprised by his team's success in the tournament. The Mustangs have defeated South Gate, 56-38, Rosemead, 54-33, and Saddleback, 57-55, in the 128-team tournament.
"I guess the real test will come this weekend," O'Connor said. "We have a young and untested team. We've played well in spots and at other times we haven't."
Muir has its usual supply of size with 6-7 Daryl Scott joining Womack on the front line and support from guards Anthony Wilson (6-0) and Gary Fowler (6-3).
"In terms of size we're OK, but we don't have the body bulk that some teams have," O'Connor said.
"For a team like ours, with only one returning player, the thing is to be competitive and get experience. I would expect us to improve as the summer goes on."
Bishop Amat enters the weekend with an abundance of experience. Leading the way are 6-7 forward Geoff Lear and guards Stephon Pace (6-1) and twins Terrance and Clarence Lamb (6-0).
The Lancers advanced through the first three rounds with victories over El Segundo, 54-50, Chadwick, 64-50, and Calabasas, 60-51, although Lear and 6-5 forward Mike Conness were sidelined with ankle injuries and two other tall front-line players, 6-7 Pablo Patino and 6-5 Brian Collins, were at a basketball camp in Arizona.
In their absence, Pace scored 29 points in each game and the Lancers received strong play from the Lambs and 6-3 sophomore Jason Green.
"I was proud of the way we played hard all the time," Coach Alex Acosta said. "This was a reward for myself. We'll be pretty strong if we stay healthy."
Acosta is hoping Lear will be able to play Saturday against Cleveland, which finished second in the L. A. City 4-A Division last year.
"If we get our team back we can play a good game," he said. "If not, we'll be in trouble."
Perhaps the most impressive valley basketball team at the L. A. Games has been the Muir girls, who rolled to three easy wins to advance to a showdown against perennial state power Buena in the quarterfinals at 1 p.m. Saturday at El Camino College.
Muir, led by 6-3 center Tasha Bradley and 5-10 guard Angela Grant, crushed Bell, 51-19, Ventura, 41-23, and L. A. Jordan, 41-22, last weekend. Bradley, an All-CIF selection last season, averaged 24.7 points and 20.3 rebounds as a junior. Grant, a Times All-San Gabriel Valley selection, averaged 15 points and 10 assists.
The Mustangs also appeared strong in the seven-man passing football tournament, advancing to a third-round game against Antelope Valley at 9:30 a.m Saturday at West Torrance High. Muir, which has won two straight CIF Coastal Conference titles, coasted to victories over Torrance, 19-0, and West Torrance, 31-7.
But Muir should receive a difficult test against Antelope Valley, whom the Mustangs defeated, 37-0, for the conference title last season. The winner advances to the quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at West Torrance. The semifinals and finals are Sunday at El Camino.
Muir has also played well in water polo, advancing to a quarterfinal game against J. W. North of Riverside on Sunday morning at El Camino. Muir has defeated La Puente by forfeit and San Bernardino, 18-5. The semifinals and finals are Sunday.
Ralph Osterkamp, an assistant coach at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut for the last 17 years, has been named men's basketball coach at the school.
The 47-year-old Osterkamp succeeds Gene Victor, who retired after coaching the Mounties to 671 wins over 28 seasons.
Athletic Director Linda Garrison said of Osterkamp, "We've worked very closely together in the past years and I have a tremendous confidence in his abilities to continue the high standards of both teaching and coaching."
Osterkamp was an assistant coach on the Mt. Sac team that reached the state community college tournament in 1985.
Gar Forman, an assistant coach at New Mexico State University for the last two years, has been named assistant men's basketball coach at Cal Poly Pomona.
First-year Pomona Coach Dave Bollwinkel said the 27-year-old Forman is regarded as an organizer and teacher.