Maybe it was Magic Johnson's flu-hampered performance in Game 2 of the National Basketball Assn. finals that inspired La Canada High's Greg Thompson to step out on the court with a 103-degree temperature in Saturday's L. A. Games competition.
Maybe Thompson realized that now was the time to answer the call he had been waiting for--the chance to play center for the Spartans.
"I've been trying to play center since last year," said Thompson, who was moved from a forward spot when 6-foot, 7-inch teammate Chad Givens sprained an ankle.
And even though La Canada was defeated by Saddleback, 51-41, Thompson made the most of his opportunity. He was not about to be corralled by Saddleback, scoring 20 points and collecting 13 rebounds.
The Spartans relied on their 6-3 forward-turned-center to spark an impressive start with consecutive wins over Jefferson, Fairfax and Hart in which Thompson averaged 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Marathon match: The St. Francis soccer team wanted to savor its position in the finals of the L. A. Games, but Sunday's seven-overtime match bordered on the ridiculous.
The Knights lost a merciless game to Southern Section 4-A semifinalist Palos Verdes, 4-3, on a field where temperatures exceeded 100 degrees.
Pete Malishka of Palos Verdes doused the St. Francis hopes with a shot over goalkeeper Martin Boscovich one minute into the seventh overtime.
However, there was a silver lining for the frustrated Knights. St. Francis' David Beall was named the tournament's most valuable player.
One step closer: By qualifying for the U. S. Olympic Trials in the pentathlon, Crescenta Valley High alumnus Kerry Bell, formerly Kerry Zwart, is one step closer to her Olympic aspirations.
Bell, who graduated from Crescenta Valley in 1982, finished sixth at The Athletic Congress Nationals in Tampa, Fla. earlier this month. She will try to make her Seoul dreams come true at the July 15-23 trials in Indianapolis.
Eagle football: Eagle Rock football coach Dennis Shaw will have three familiar faces to greet him when practices for the National Football Foundation All-Star Game commence.
Shaw, chosen as coach for the West team after his Eagles were crowned last year's Northern League champion, expects gutsy performances from quarterback Chuck Engel, offensive lineman Russ Shiraishi, and wide receiver Emanuel Washington, who was also selected to The Times' All-Glendale baseball squad.
Other selected area standouts include defensive lineman Chris Mehnert of La Canada and Glenn Glascow of Hoover, St. Francis defensive back Al Smith, Hoover offensive lineman Joe Ferguson and Glendale tight end Rod Cassidy.
The game is to be played July 29 at Arroyo High in El Monte.
Flying Eagles: The Eagle Rock boys' track team capped off its most successful campaign by winning the City Section C-Division championship last month.
The Eagles scored 40.5 points to beat Taft (39) and Dorsey (38).
Turning in outstanding performances were long jump winner Vi Nuguyen (20 feet, 6 inches) and pole vault winner Yuk Tse (10-9).