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PREP WEDNESDAY: BASKETBALL PLAYERS OF THE YEAR : Loara's Titus Set a Record Pace

March 20, 1991|FERNANDO DOMINGUEZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

ANAHEIM — Soft-spoken Tracy Titus won't blindside you with earth-shattering remarks, but she has no problems making her points.

For the 6-foot-2 senior center on the Loara High School girls' basketball team and The Times' player of the year, the hardwood floor is her podium.

Titus, a highly gifted athlete who is also a standout in volleyball and track, established an Orange County scoring record and several school records during a season in which she averaged 25.5 points, 16.4 rebounds and five blocked shots.

The first indication that Titus would enjoy a stellar season came in mid-December, when she scored 46 points in a nonleague victory over Anaheim Canyon to set a school single-game record.

A few days later, she set a Marina Tournament single-game record with 43 points in the Saxons' 58-43 victory over Canyon Country Canyon. She broke former La Quinta standout Amy Jalewalia's 41-point record from the previous year.

But the real fireworks came Jan. 3, in Loara's first Empire League game of the season. And again, a Jalewalia record fell.

In a 78-50 victory over Los Alamitos, Titus scored a county-record 61 points on 28-for-43 shooting from the field and five-for-19 from the free-throw line. The previous record of 60 points had been set by Jalewalia in 1990.

Looking back on that memorable night, Titus said this week that she didn't grasp the significance of her accomplishment because "I didn't even know there was a record."

She knew, however, about Loara records. And when the team's season came to an end in a 58-53 loss to San Clemente in the first round of the Southern Section Division II-AA playoffs, Titus owned a few.

Her school records include 1,297 career points during three years at the school, surpassing the 1,015 points scored by Heidi Sorour from 1986-89 and 947 career rebounds, breaking the 646 total set by Kim Schmidt from 1980-82. Titus' 625 points this past season broke the 566-point record set by Cheryl Peterson in 1977-78.

And Titus accomplished all this while being covered on the floor by seemingly everybody but the opponent's team manager. "She was double- and triple-teamed during every league game," Loara Coach Lynn Parish said. "She's just a phenomenal athlete. . . . A lot of times she'll rebound, get the outlet pass out and be on the other end for a layup."

Said Mater Dei Coach Brenda Yecke: "(She's) one of the best centers I've seen." Apparently a few university coaches think she's one of the best players they've seen, too. Titus has narrowed her choices to Fresno State, USC, Hawaii and Cal Poly Pomona.

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