The all-star boys and girls teams, each consisting of 10 members, their coaches and parents will be guests of the Times at 9 a.m. Sunday, May 1, at the annual Times High School Basketball Awards Brunch where all-star teams from 12 circulation areas will be honored at the Anaheim Hilton. The featured Speaker will be Loyola Coach Paul Westhead. The players and coaches of the year from each area will be announced.
The teams were chosen on the basis of a poll of area coaches, who are asked to fill out ballots nominating their own players and opponents, plus the observations of college scouts and sportswriters. Each player will receive the traditional Times golden basketball plaque and award certificate.
Jeff Sofro is having the kind of year that high school players work for four years to achieve. He was Glendale High's leading scorer this season, averaging 21.8 points and five assists a game. The senior point guard was the team's second-leading rebounder, was named All-Pacific League and All-Southern Section and was the fourth most efficient three-point shooter in the 4-A Division.
And now he has joined nine other players on The Times' All-Glendale area high school basketball team.
Despite the honors, he doesn't care that he probably will never play basketball again.
It isn't that college basketball recruiters aren't interested in the 6-foot, 2-inch, 175-pound senior. They just aren't as interested as the baseball scouts.
Sofro is batting .444 as the third baseman for the Glendale baseball team.
"I'm hoping something will happen with baseball," Sofro said. "I wasn't expecting to make first-team All-CIF in basketball. I want to concentrate on whatever I have the best chance of making it in. When it's basketball season I concentrate on basketball. Right now I'm concentrating on baseball."
It took little time or effort for Glendale's opponents to realize that something had to be done to stop Sofro on the hardwood.
Most tried the box-and-one defense, singling out the senior in hopes of shutting down the Glendale offense. But while Sofro was the main reason for Glendale's success, he wasn't the only reason. And an abundance of defenders on Sofro meant that either Dan Johnson or Justin Lord was probably roaming the court unattended. Johnson, a 6-4, 225-pound senior forward averaged 15.5 points and eight rebounds a game this season. Lord, a 6-4 senior forward-guard, averaged 12.5 points.
"Jeff developed his game this year," Glendale Coach Bob Davidson said. "He improved his game at setting other people up and taking control of the team. He was the best shooter in the area."
If Davidson is correct, a close second would have to go to La Canada's Chad Givens, a 6-7 junior center who averaged 23 points and 10 rebounds a game.
Givens, who was chosen to The Times' All-Glendale team for the second consecutive season, led La Canada to the Rio Hondo League championship and into the third round of the 2-A Division playoffs. He was named to the all-tournament teams at Crescenta Valley and Alhambra and was a first-team all-league and All-Southern Section pick. He shared the league most valuable player award with his brother Greg, a 6-4 senior guard-forward who averaged 12 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
The Glendale area was loaded with talented guards. Crescenta Valley's Brad Adam earned tournament most valuable player honors on his home court. The 5-10 senior also was named first-team All-Pacific League after averaging 21.7 points and scoring 30 or more on four occasions. He shot 80% from the free-throw line and led the team in three-point goals, field goals and assists.
Frank Lagattuta was St. Francis' offensive leader, averaging 15.2 points and four assists a game. The 5-11, 170-pound senior guard was all-tournament at Hoover/Burbank, Crescenta Valley and Hart, and was named second-team All-Del Rey League.
"He ran the show for us," Coach John Jordan said. "When he played well we won."
This was also the situation at small Ribet Academy where senior point guard Dale Santa Ana averaged 15.5 points, 11.1 assists and 3.2 rebounds and was named first-team All-Southern Section Small Schools Division.
But Hoover had the luxury of having a set of experienced guards. Both Joe Velasquez and Vigen Serop could be counted on for point production as well as excellent ballhandling skills. Velasquez, a senior, averaged 19.1 points a game. He has been the team's most valuable player the past two seasons and was named to the first-team All-Pacific League this season.
Serop, a 5-10 senior, averaged 13.6 points and four assists, shot 81% from the free-throw line and was a 47% three-point shooter.
"We didn't really have a big inside game," Hoover Coach Kirt Kohlmeier said. "We had a combination of both."