Cliff Warren and Dana Pagett have been close friends for 20 years. But that won't matter Friday night.
Friends or not, they will root against each other when Rolling Hills meets Los Alamitos in the quarterfinals of the CIF 3-A basketball playoffs at Cypress College at 7:30.
Warren is the Rolling Hills coach. Pagett, who played for Warren at El Segundo High, is the father of Los Alamitos' star guard, Brett Pagett.
"I've known Brett for years, since he was a little kid," Warren said. "Now I'm going to do battle with him.
"I root for Los Alamitos more than any team throughout the year because I like Brett. However, there are no mixed emotions for this game. None at all."
Warren knows Dana feels the same way.
"When it comes to your son," he said, "even your old coach has to take the second spot."
Warren coached Dana during 1964-67, the glory days of El Segundo basketball. The Eagles reached the CIF semifinals in 1966 and lost in the finals the next season when Pagett was named CIF player of the year. A talented guard, he went on to play at USC.
Said Warren: "Dana is the best player I've ever coached."
Warren left high school coaching after the 1967 season and resurfaced two years ago at Rolling Hills where his teams have won at least 20 games in each of his three seasons. The Titans are 8-2 in playoffs under Warren.
Rolling Hills (20-6) advanced to the quarterfinals with a thrilling 60-59 win over Western of Anaheim on Tuesday night at Katella High. Western forward John Armenta missed a layup just before the final buzzer as Warren's Cardiac Kids hung on for another close victory.
"I never get used to them," Warren said. "But at least I get a lot of practice at it."
Los Alamitos is solid at point guard with Brett Pagett, who signed early with UC Irvine, but Rolling Hills could be without its floor leader.
Sophomore point guard Steve Clover suffered a sprained ankle in the first quarter against Western and sat out the rest of the game. Warren doubts that Clover will be able to play Friday.
If that's the case, sixth man Ron Dinnel will move into the starting lineup and little-used Rick Judge becomes the first player off the bench. Warren said he might also use sophomore guard Ross Pier, who did a steady job Tuesday, and 6-3 freshman Roger Hendrix, the top player from the Bay League champion junior varsity team.
And, of course, the Titans can always call on center John Hardy. The 6-4 junior had another big game against Western, finishing with game highs of 23 points and 14 rebounds. He'll be matched against 6-9 Dre Lamoureux, who averages 21 points and 14 rebounds for Los Alamitos.
Palos Verdes' basketball team extended its winning streak to seven games Tuesday night with a 47-42 victory over Savanna to set up a meeting with second-seeded Sunny Hills of Fullerton in the CIF 3-A quarterfinals.
The game will be played Friday at 7:30 at Biola University in La Mirada.
Sunny Hills (22-3), the Freeway League champion, suffered a blow before the playoffs when forward Chris Drakos was declared academically ineligible. The Lancers are led by 6-6 forward Brian McCloskey, who averages 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Palos Verdes (18-8) received another big effort from point guard John Mika on Tuesday. The 5-9 senior scored 22 points and shut out Savanna forward Robby Booker in the second half after Booker had scored 11 in the first half.
Scott Davison, the all-everything baseball player for Redondo High, has a tough act to follow this season. His own.
Redondo Coach Harry Jenkins thinks his star is up to the challenge.
"Believe it or not, he's improved tremendously," Jenkins said. "He's a lot stronger and faster. And his (pitching) velocity has increased."
Apparently other experts agree. Davison, a pitcher-shortstop, has been selected one of the top 50 high school seniors in the nation by Collegiate Baseball, the publication of the American Baseball Coaches Assn.
Davison's accomplishments during his four-year varsity career are too lengthy to mention. Some of the highlights:
- A CIF-record 58 RBI last season.
- Two-time league most valuable player.
- Two-time All-CIF selection.
- CIF 3-A co-player of the year last season.
Jenkins says Davison is approaching CIF career records in several hitting and pitching categories, including home runs, RBI, hits and strikeouts.
"By the time he's through, he'll hold every offensive and pitching record at the school," he said. "He's being recruited by all the major schools, from Arizona to USC. I think he'll also be a high draft pick."
Davison and Redondo open the season March 4 with a home night game against Channel Islands in the Westside Tournament.
Over the last six years, Hawthorne girls basketball Coach John Wheeler has quietly built a reputation as one of the most successful coaches in the South Bay.
Wheeler owns a career record of 102-45, and his teams have made six straight trips to the CIF playoffs. He coached Lennox for two seasons before moving over to Hawthorne in 1985.