The Hoover High boys' basketball team opened the recent Estancia tournament by losing to eventual-champion Irvine, 62-58. The Tornadoes (3-9) led, 58-56, and had the ball with 47 seconds to play but then self-destructed with turnovers.
Coach Kirt Kohlmeier says that the loss was somewhat of a morale-breaker.
"We should have won and we needed a game of that caliber for our confidence," he said. "We didn't seem to have the same intensity afterward."
Kohlmeier added that some players, such as John Worden, have unwavering intensity.
"Worden is our Kurt Rambis," he said. "He always gets the boards and dives for the loose ball."
Hoover vacuum: Guard John Hillman has been dismantling opponents with his deadly jump shot all season. Most of his points have gone for naught, though, because his teammates have not been able to deliver the crushing blow.
Hillman's 40 points against Sonora broke the Estancia tournament's single-game scoring record. Hillman, who is averaging 28 points a game, had 113 in the tournament, 6 points shy of the 4-game record.
Unlikely heroes: Crescenta Valley basketball players Steve Finch and Lamar Breeding each had a holiday befitting of Walter Mitty.
Finch, a reserve guard, stepped into the starting lineup in the Eldorado tournament in Las Vegas when Raffie Eskandarian came down with the flu. The night before, Eskandarian scored 28 points, including 6 3-point baskets.
In relief, Finch scored a game-high 21 points and buried 2 clutch free throws with 30 seconds to play in a 75-74 win over Chaparral. His efforts earned him all-tournament honors.
Breeding, a point guard on the JV team who tagged along to to take statistics, also was called upon in the crisis. "He put on his uniform but I didn't think he'd play," Coach John Goffredo said. "He came in and did a fabulous job."
Hale and farewell: USC's Chris Hale, a former Glendale College standout, considered his final college football game a personal success tempered by a team defeat.
"This is probably the worst loss I've ever taken," the starting cornerback said after Michigan defeated the Trojans, 22-14, Monday in the 75th Rose Bowl game. "After the Notre Dame loss, we vowed we'd come back and win this game, but this one even feels worse."
Hale led the Trojans with 10 unassisted tackles, including a touchdown-saving stop of Leroy Hoard on a 61-yard fourth quarter run. Hale shared team-high honors for total tackles with inside linebacker Delmar Chesley.
"I was happy with the way I played," Hale said. "They picked on me just like I thought they would and I think I answered the challenge."
Hale spent much of the game defending against Michigan big-play specialist John Kolesar.
"He's probably one of the best receivers I've ever seen," Hale said after Kolesar made 3 catches for 49 yards.
Hale, a JC Grid-Wire All-State first team and All-American honorable mention with the Vaqueros in 1986, led the Trojans with 4 interceptions and 29 pass deflections.
Hale's next appearance will come next month in Indianapolis at the National Football League's Scouting Combine, during which the nation's top seniors are timed, tested and evaluated in front of scouts and officials from all 28 NFL teams.
Hobbled on the hardwood: The woes of the Glendale High boys' basketball team are seemingly endless. The Dynamiters are somewhat in sync on the court but are hampered by injuries.
"It gets to the point where you're waiting for the next injury to come," Coach Bob Davidson said.
Center Robert DeTolve is one of the walking wounded. DeTolve underwent arthroscopic surgery over the summer but still complains of chronic knee pain.
Maybe DeTolve's injury has something to do with his inconsistent play. He scored 19 against Notre Dame, 18 against Lynwood but just 2 against Pasadena.
Steven Herbert contributed to this notebook.