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Times Honors Top Boy, Girl Cagers, Coaches

May 05, 1988|MITCH POLIN | Times Staff Writer

Two players who led their teams into the CIF Southern Section finals and state tournament received top honors in the San Gabriel Valley at the Los Angeles Times All-Star Basketball Awards program.

Geoff Lear of Bishop Amat, a 6-8 center who was instrumental in his team reaching the CIF 5-A Division finals and state Division I tournament, and Susan Peters of Los Altos, a 5-11 forward who carried her team to the CIF 3-A finals and state Division II tournament, were named players of the year. Lear is a senior and Peters a junior.

The coaches of the year are Alex Acosta of the Bishop Amat boys and Mike Lassalette of the Edgewood girls.

Lear, Peters, Acosta and Lassalette received trophies. The nine other players on the boys and girls All-San Gabriel Valley teams received trophies and certificates.

The San Gabriel Valley boys team consists of Carlos Carrillo of Bosco Tech, Brian Hendrick of Diamond Bar, Otis Mixon of Duarte, John Moses of Edgewood, Tracy Murray of Glendora, Eric Smith of Bonita, Marvin Whitlock of Nogales, Wayne Womack of Muir, Kelvin Woods of Damien and Lear.

The girls team has Julie Garcia of Rowland, Tasha Bradley of Muir, Kim Hansen of Edgewood, Regina Newton of Garey, Marilyn Robinson of Pasadena, Lori Thompson of Monrovia, Cara Vergo of Temple City, Anitra Wilkins of Pasadena, Danielle Zampiello of St. Lucy's and Peters.

Teams from 11 other Times circulation areas were also honored during the ceremony at the Anaheim Hilton. The speaker was Paul Westhead, Loyola Marymount basketball coach.

Lear was one of the top players for Bishop Amat as a junior, averaging 17 points and 7 rebounds. But it was not until a strong summer league season before his senior year that Lear started to emerge as one of the most heavily recruited players in the valley.

He wound up signing a national letter of intent to attend Pepperdine during the NCAA's early signing period last November. Once the regular season started, Lear only added to his excellent reputation.

Taking advantage of his 225-pound frame, Lear averaged 21 points and a valley-leading 17 rebounds as Bishop Amat enjoyed its best season ever. Lear played one of his best games with 22 points and 14 rebounds in his team's 74-65 loss to Mater Dei for the 5-A championship, and in the first round of the state Division I tournament he scored 32 points in a 94-91 loss to eventual champion Manual Arts.

Lear was selected most valuable player of the Angelus League and named to the All-CIF 5-A first team.

The selection of Peters as the valley's top girl marks the second straight season that a junior has received the honor. Muir's Bradley was selected last year.

Peters led a surprising Los Altos squad to the CIF 3-A finals and the state Division II regional playoffs for the first time despite being unranked at the start of postseason play. The Conquerors, who finished with a 21-5 record, were defeated by Palos Verdes in both the 3-A finals and the regionals.

She played two of her best games in the 3-A playoffs when she scored 18 points in a 52-45 upset over top-ranked Brea-Olinda in the quarterfinals and 32 points in the Conquerors' 54-46 win over Capistrano Valley in the semifinals.

Peters was the second-leading scorer in the valley with a 25.4-point average, but she also demonstrated her versatility by averaging 11.7 rebounds, 3 steals and 2.7 assists.

She was also honored as the most valuable player in the Sierra League and 3-A player of the year.

Taking over a struggling program after the 1985-86 season, it took Bishop Amat's Acosta only two seasons to transform the Lancers into a Southern Section finalist in the tough 5-A Division.

The Lancers, 9-14 the season before Acosta became coach, produced a 17-10 record and reached the playoffs in his first season.

But Bishop Amat improved even more this past season, winning the Angelus League title en route to a 27-4 record. In winning the Angelus League, the Lancers defeated Mater Dei twice to end the Monarchs' five-year stranglehold on the title.

Before losing to the Monarchs in the 5-A final, Bishop Amat had been the No. 1 seed in the division playoffs. The Lancers also reached the division final and state playoffs for the first time.

Lassalette, athletic director at Edgewood since 1976, didn't originally expect to coach the girls basketball team. But he decided to coach this season after Diane Groh, who coached the Trojans last year, was released because of financial cutbacks in the West Covina Unified School District.

It marked Lassalette's return to coaching basketball after directing the Edgewood boys team from 1970 to 1978 and the end result was a dramatic improvement in the Trojan record.

After missing the playoffs with an 11-11 record the season before, Edgewood finished the 1987-88 season with a 24-1 mark. The Trojans, seeded No. 3 in the 2-A playoffs and ranked No. 4 in the state in Division III, won their first 24 games before being upset by St. Bernard (49-47) in the second round of the 2-A playoffs.

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