Falling Monarchs? Mater Dei High School, the defending Southern Section 5-A champion and the top-ranked basketball team in Orange County, lost two games in the Beverly Hills tournament last week.
The Monarchs, 153-9 since Coach Gary McKnight took over the program in 1982, were undefeated this season before they were upset by Beverly Hills, 56-53, Friday, and then lost to Palisades, 65-47, Saturday.
"It's a big deal for us, of course," senior Kevin Rembert said. "Personally, I haven't had two losses in one season, ever.
"The coaches weren't real upset. They know we're a good basketball team. After (Friday's loss), Coach said losing the game would probably do us some good. It would wake us up. He told us we'd learn that just putting on Mater Dei uniforms doesn't mean we'll win."
And after Saturday's loss?
"Well, there wasn't much to be said after that game. We were dead, you could tell. (The Monarchs shot 37% from the field). On the bus ride up there, we were all half asleep. You could tell there were some problems."
Said McKnight: "We're just hoping that they'll rebound from it. We know we're not going to win every game. But we didn't play very well, or with great intensity. And everyone plays us like its the championship of the world.
"What concerns me is the next few weeks. (The Monarchs play Los Alamitos Wednesday; in the Cincinnati tournament, Dec. 19 and the Sea Gull tournament at Atlantic City, N.J., Dec. 26-30). We're really going to have to tighten our belts to survive."
Another shooting star ... Magnolia's Mike Goff scored 53 points against Brea-Olinda in Thursday's 79-78 overtime victory at the Sunny Hills tournament. It was the fourth-best single-game output in county history.
Goff tied Tom Lewis (Mater Dei, 1983) and Tim Gergen (Rancho Alamitos, 1966) on the county list. Art Worthy of Huntington Beach is the county record holder with 58 points scored in 1910.
Goff, who shot 70.8% from the field and 83% from the line, also had 27 rebounds, missing the school record by two.
In five games this season, he has scored 33, 38, 27, 53 and 33 points, an average of 36.8.
So to what does Goff credit his 53-point performance?
New basketball shoes, he says. A pair of air-cushioned, black-and-silver, extra-light high tops that his father purchased for him the day before.
"The salespeople at the sporting goods store kept saying, 'You better do good, you better score a lot tonight. We want to see your name in the paper. After the game I just kept saying, 'It's the shoes! It's gotta be the shoes!"
Goff, a 6-foot 6-inch center/forward, said he'll be taking especially good care of the high tops, for more than the obvious reason.
"Yeah, they work real good for me," he said. "But I can't let them get worn out too fast--they're too expensive ($100 retail)."
Blown away . . . While the El Toro football team was breezing to its second consecutive Southern Conference championship Saturday night, the Charger pep squad was being blown around the stadium by the gusts up to 50 m.p.h.
"We could hardly move out there," said Andrea Higuera, a cheerleader. "We tried to climb up to do a pyramid, but everyone kept getting blown off. And the song leaders were trying to do pompon passes, but the pompons just blew across the field. It was hard to do the dance routine, too, because we couldn't hear the music. It definitely wasn't one of our best routines."
Said Suzie Blackstone, cheerleader captain: "It was a real mess, but it was worth it. We're champions again."
Don't ask me: The popular question for Charger Coach Bob Johnson these days is: What will become of his team's success next season without his son, quarterback Bret Johnson?
"People were asking me that at two and three in the morning after (Saturday night)," Johnson said. "My only answer is, I don't know. I'm still savoring (the Southern Conference title). I want to have a nice Christmas and live out 1987. Ask me in '88. I'll be worrying about it then."
Oh, that college life: Former area basketball standouts Mark Georgeson (Marina), Lasse Glassen (University) and Rog Middleton (Tustin) all are attending Division I universities this season. But so far, it hasn't exactly been collegiate bliss.
All three are redshirting--or thinking of redshirting--their freshmen season. And all are experiencing the Big H (homesickness).
Georgeson, at Arizona, decided to sit out the season in hopes of adding some more muscle to his 6-11 frame.
"My goal is to weigh 245 by next season," said Georgeson, who weighs 210. "We've got a great training table, so I think it'll be easy. I have to admit, though, I'm singing the freshman blues sometimes. (As a freshman) You're not the big star of the team anymore."
Glassen, at Pennsylvania, has yet to play in a game for the Quakers because of a stress fracture in his right ankle. And life in the East?
"Well, I'm happy there," he said. "But people are a lot more up tight. It's their attitude, from what I've seen they're pretty quick to judge."
And the weather?