Top-seeded Bishop Amat, undefeated Glendora and Duarte head the list of San Gabriel Valley high schools that will compete in the first round of the CIF Southern Section boys basketball playoffs today.
Bishop Amat, ranked No. 1 in the 5-A Division with a 24-2 record, plays host to Bosco Tech (11-13), the third-place team in the Del Rey League, in its opener at 7:30 tonight at Los Altos High in Hacienda Heights.
Glendora, seeded No. 2 behind Simi Valley in 4-A, will take a 26-0 record into its opener against visiting San Gorgonio (16-11) Friday at 7:30. Duarte, seeded No. 4 in 2-A at 24-1, will be at home against the winner of Wednesday night's Azusa-Laguna Beach game at 7:30 Friday.
Bishop Amat, having its best season ever, won the Angelus League title behind the play of 6-8 center Geoff Lear and 6-0 guard Stephon Pace. Lear, who has signed a letter of intent to attend Pepperdine University next season, is averaging 22 points and 15 rebounds, and Pace, headed for USC on a football scholarship, is averaging 14 points.
Glendora, one of only two undefeated boys teams in the CIF Southern Section along with Banning, has been led by junior Tracy Murray. The 6-7 forward is averaging 31 points and 10.2 rebounds, and the Tartans also have an outstanding shooter in 6-0 senior point guard Kurt Bonds, who averages 15.9 points.
Duarte, which breezed to the Mission Valley League title, has been led by 6-5 forward Otis Mixon with an average of 21.4 points and 13.8 rebounds.
Among other first-round games Friday night, Diamond Bar (21-4) will entertain Thousand Oaks (8-12), Nogales (20-6) is at home against Redlands (19-6), Damien (15-8) visits El Toro (19-5) and Claremont (15-8) visits Warren (14-10) in 4-A; Alhambra (20-5) plays host to El Segundo (12-9) and Bonita (13-11) entertains El Dorado (12-10) in 3-A; Blair (16-7) is at home against Laguna Hills (16-9), Edgewood (17-8) entertains Bloomington (20-4) and San Dimas (17-5) plays host to St. Joseph (12-11) in 2-A.
Diamond Bar was the only valley team to reach the CIF semifinals last season and it would not be a surprise for the Brahmas to make it again. Diamond Bar, which won its second straight Sierra League title, has been led by center Brian Hendrick. The 6-8 senior is averaging 25.7 points and 16 rebounds.
Second-round games in 2-A, 3-A and 4-A will be played Tuesday. The 5-A quarterfinals are Feb. 25 and the 1-A quarterfinals Feb. 26.
Three gridders from the San Gabriel Valley have been selected to play for the South in the 37th annual Shrine All-Star Football Game that on July 23 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
They are defensive back Stephon Pace of Bishop Amat in La Puente, offensive lineman Rick Fuller of Arroyo in El Monte and defensive lineman Bascom Mellon of Diamond Bar.
All were All-CIF Southern Section selections as seniors and have signed national letters of intent to attend Division I schools next season. Pace will attend USC, Fuller UCLA and Mellon Utah.
All were outstanding two-way players. Pace, 6-0 and 175 pounds, intercepted six passes and had 101 tackles as a back last season and caught 15 passes to lead Bishop Amat to an 11-1 record and the CIF Big Five Conference quarterfinals.
Fuller, who has great size at 6-8 and 275, played for an Arroyo team that reached the CIF Southeastern Conference title game the last two seasons. He is an excellent shot-putter and finished fifth in the state CIF meet last season with a toss of 58-3.
Mellon, 6-4 and 255, was selected The Times San Gabriel Valley lineman of the year after leading Diamond Bar with 126 tackles, 13 quarterback sacks and an interception last season.
Edgewood High of West Covina and Rio Hondo Prep of Arcadia are the only San Gabriel Valley schools seeded for the first round of the CIF Southern Section girls basketball playoffs that start Saturday.
Edgewood, seeded No. 3 in 2-A with a 23-0 record, will face the winner of Wednesday night's Kennedy-Buena Park game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in West Covina. Edgewood, the Valle Vista League champion, has been led by 6-1 senior forward Kim Hansen.
Rio Hondo Prep, top seed in the Small Schools Division with a 21-1 record and winner of the Prep League, will entertain the winner of Wednesday night's Coast Christian-Ventura Lutheran game at 7:30 p.m.