Having graduated 10 of 12 players, Eagle Rock High was expected to be inexperienced this season. But when Eagle Rock's only all-league player, Manny Washington, decided not to play, three more players left the team because of eligibility or disciplinary reasons and one player moved, even Coach Bill Whiting was taken aback.
"We got real young and real short in a hurry," Whiting said.
Eagle Rock's roster has dwindled to eight players, including Reuben De Los Reyes, who was promoted from the junior varsity.
Junior forward Michael Epps has led the Eagles (2-1 in the Northern League, 5-9 overall), averaging 24.3 points a game. Sophomore point-guard John Padilla has a 12.3 average.
The only returning senior, Michael Nelson, is averaging eight rebounds and is joined in the starting lineup by Randy Que, a junior forward, and junior guard Mikko Ihalainen. Darius Calaguas and Bob Liao are first off the bench at forward and guard.
"At least nobody is complaining about playing time," Whiting said. "And most of them are coming back next year."
Two for the road: After two victories on the road, the Glendale College men's team returned home and dropped its first Western State Conference game of the season, an 89-79 loss to Canyons. Then the Vaqueros lost to Santa Monica on Saturday, 82-65.
Glendale (8-10, 2-2) has been led by freshmen Matt Dyrek and Dwight Davis, who are averaging 14 and 13 points a game, respectively. Sophomores Geoff Foote (11) and John Mickle (10) also are scoring consistently.
Glendale, which is in the WSC's Southern Division, plays each Northern Division team once and each Southern Division team twice.
"Playing a team twice makes a big difference," Glendale Coach Brian Beauchemin said. "I don't like the format. When you play a Northern team your preparation is different. Sometimes you don't even get to see them play."
Close quarters: The Glendale High boys' team was only seconds away from moving into first place in the Pacific League last week.
But Glendale (2-1) lost to Crescenta Valley, 68-66, after leading throughout the game. With less than 30 seconds remaining and the score tied, 66-66, Glendale's Jeff Sofro was fouled but missed the front end of a one-and-one. Crescenta Valley called a timeout and then scored the game's final basket at the buzzer.
Glendale defeated Muir on Thursday in overtime, 64-63, to move into a first-place tie with Muir and Crescenta Valley. Justine Lord scored 17 points and Dan Johnson and Jeff Sofro added 16 and 14, respectively, for Glendale, which is ranked No. 10 in the Southern Section 4-A Division poll.
Slow down: Beth Ercek said she doesn't normally pamper her players, but the Marshall High girls' coach had little choice when the majority of the team caught a severe case of the flu last week.
"We've had to substitute very freely," Ercek said. "We're a more defensive team right now."
Marshall (3-0, 7-2) defeated Eagle Rock and Belmont in Northern League games last week but has failed to score more than 50 points in a league game.
Not yet: Franklin was close to winning its first Northern League game this season but dropped a 68-67 decision to Eagle Rock last week on a last-second basket. Franklin (0-3, 7-7) had led by as much as 11 points in the third quarter.
"They made a run and I should have called a timeout but I didn't," Coach Chuck Donaghho said. "I was trying to get them to expend all their energy and then I was going to put my starters back in. But they caught us at the buzzer."
Record setter: Franklin's Laura Redford set a school single-game scoring record with 36 in a 46-43 win over Wilson last week. With the score tied, 43-43, the senior point guard drove the middle and was fouled by Wilson's Missy Hake, who fouled out. Wilson was called for a technical foul and Redford converted 3 of 4 shots from the line.
Winning ways: The La Canada High boys' team, favored in the Rio Hondo League, moved into first place with victories over Blair (60-49) and San Marino (70-54) last week. La Canada, (3-0, 16-2) is ranked No. 8 in the Southern Section 2-A Division poll.