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High School Notebook

'88 Loss Diminishes With Each Grant Win

February 26, 1988|CHRIS J. PARKER | Times Staff Writer

Some losses linger, like the smell of Limburger cheese, onions and that month-old salmon in the corner of your refrigerator.

Grant (19-3) has lost only once in 1988, but according to Coach Howard Levine, the Lancers did not recover from the setback until Wednesday night's 59-53 victory over Wilson in the City Section 3-A Division quarterfinals.

"When we got ripped by North Hollywood, the team felt really bad and it's taken us two weeks to get over it," Levine said. "This gets the monkey off our back."

Grant lost to the Huskies, 76-59, Feb. 9 to drop into a first-place tie with North Hollywood in the East Valley League.

"We said if we made the semifinals, we would forget North Hollywood," Grant forward Danny Enowitz said.

Grant will have to wait until next year, however, to exact revenge against North Hollywood--the Huskies lost to Los Angeles, 82-63, Wednesday in another quarterfinal game.

Add Grant: When the Lancers play host to University tonight, it will be the first time they have been in the semifinals in the 28 years the school has fielded a basketball team.

"It's pretty special," Levine said. "It makes me feel good. This team has played very, very well, but we're not going to settle for this. We want to go to the Sports Arena and then we want to win the City title."

The best chance any previous Grant team had of making the semifinals was in 1982. Grant was 20-0 and a favorite to win the 3-A title but lost to Reseda, the eventual City champion, by one point in the quarterfinals.

Instant replay: George McLin of Fremont admittedly was a bit shaky in the knees, but at least he had experienced a similar situation before.

And he was trying to forget it.

McLin stepped to the free-throw line during Wednesday's City 4-A playoff game against Taft with the score tied, 53-53, and three seconds left. It all seemed familiar.

As a sophomore playing for the junior varsity, McLin was fouled with two seconds remaining in a tie game against Westchester.

"I missed the front end of a one-and-one," he said. "And we lost by a point."

Wednesday, however, McLin made the first of two free throws and the Pathfinders defeated Taft, 54-53.

Add Taft: A win by the Toreadors would have sent them to the Sports Arena tonight to play Crenshaw, the nation's top-rated team.

Coach Jim Woodard said Taft had not played Crenshaw since his first year with the Toreador varsity in 1973, when former UCLA and NBA great Marques Johnson was attending Crenshaw.

The loss to Fremont also put an end to a reunion of sorts. Point guard Dedan Thomas, who lived in Los Angeles before moving to the Valley before his freshman year, would have attended Crenshaw. Thomas said he knows several players on the Crenshaw team.

Last add Taft: Woodard called the City's Central League "the toughest in the state," an assertion that does not seem far-fetched.

Of the four teams playing in tonight's semifinal round, three are from the Central League--Crenshaw, Fremont and Westchester.

Fremont defeated two Valley League opponents, Cleveland and Taft, and Westchester knocked off Fairfax, the defending 4-A and Valley League champion, on Wednesday.

Collision course: The Reseda and North Hollywood girls' basketball teams, which have split the last two West Valley League championships and faced each other in the City 3-A final last year, are one game away from facing each other for the sixth time in the past two seasons.

Reseda, which won the City championship last year and the league title this year, beat Lincoln, 77-49, Wednesday. North Hollywood, which won the league title last year, beat South Gate, 84-61. If Reseda beats Palisades on Friday, and North Hollywood beats University, the teams would meet for the City championship.

"We would love it--both schools," Reseda Coach Andrea Francola said. "It's been a healthy rivalry."

Alsen rolling: Ian Alsen of Granada Hills has established himself as one of the finest high school distance runners in the state, but he has not limited his talents to running. He also has excelled in the biathlon world.

Alsen, the 1987 Kinney West regional and City Section cross-country champion, won the Desert Princess biathlon short-course championships in Palm Desert on Saturday, setting a course record of 45 minutes, 55 seconds.

The race consisted of a three-kilometer run, followed by a 10-mile bike ride and another three-kilometer run.

Staff writers John Ortega and Steve Elling contributed to this notebook.

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