Four of the five South Bay boys' basketball teams participating in the Southern California regional tournament won first-round games Tuesday.
Great news, right?
Well, yes and no. It is unprecedented for the area to have four teams competing this late in the season. But for organizers of the third annual South Bay Athletic Club All-Star Classic, the area's playoff success has a downside.
With Morningside, South Torrance, Serra and Chadwick all participating in regional semifinals tonight, it is likely that the nine seniors selected from those schools will not play in Friday night's all-star game at South.
Without marquee players such as Morningside swingman Stais Boseman, South guard Jimmy Williamson and Serra center Akeli Jackson, the game loses much of its drawing power.
But the show must go on. Game chairman Jerry McIlvaine said the contest will proceed as scheduled, with or without some of the area's best players.
"We talked about postponing it," McIlvaine said. "But we feel we have the best format because we play the game when the interest in basketball is still high."
Because there were 29 seniors originally chosen to play, the game does not need to add players. McIlvaine said a few players might be moved around to even out the Blue and Red all-star teams.
Among the players expected to play Friday are Torrance guard Michael Dean, the state scoring leader, Bishop Montgomery forward Andre English, Peninsula forward Matt Acres and San Pedro guard Raymond Tutt.
Former Rolling Hills coach Cliff Warren reportedly is the leading candidate to replace John Mihaljevich as coach of the Peninsula boys' basketball team.
Warren is out of town this week and could not be reached for comment, but a source said Warren has applied for the position. Mihaljevich recently resigned after coaching Peninsula in its first two seasons.
Applications will be accepted through Monday, with interviews scheduled to begin next week.
One of the area's most successful coaches, Warren guided Rolling Hills to a 123-46 record, three Bay League titles and six Southern Section playoff berths in six seasons from 1985-91. Warren's tenure ended when Mihaljevich was named coach at Peninsula after the district consolidated high school operations at the former Rolling Hills site.
Warren, a walk-on coach, felt he wouldn't be hired over a full-time teacher and conceded the job to Mihaljevich, the longtime coach at Palos Verdes.
Warren resurfaced a year later at Redondo, coaching the team to a 13-14 record. He abruptly resigned after the season amid rumors that he had trouble adjusting to a new school.
"I got kind of spoiled after six years at Rolling Hills," he said at the time.
Warren did not coach this season, but he attended several Peninsula games. Don't be surprised if he watches the Panthers from the sideline next season.
It didn't take long for Hauss Hancock to make an impact with the West Torrance baseball team. In his first game Friday, the senior transfer from El Segundo pitched a no-hitter in West's 11-0 victory over host Cerritos in the first round of the El Segundo tournament.
"Usually you see no-hitters in the middle of the season and at the end of the season," West Coach Harry Jenkins said. "It's unusual for a pitcher to be in that kind of form early in the season. He had a real strong outing."
Hancock, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound right-hander, struck out 10, walked two and faced only 22 batters, one over the minimum for seven innings. The game ended when West second baseman Paul Berwick made a diving catch on a line drive and threw to first to double up a baserunner.
Jenkins said Hancock did a nice job of mixing his pitches. Hancock will make his second start at 3 p.m. today when West (2-1) plays host to Lynwood in the ninth-place semifinals of the El Segundo tournament.
"(Cerritos) didn't make contact on his curve," Jenkins said. "We chart pitches and the 11 balls hit for outs were all on fastballs. A lot of his strikeouts were on curveballs on the corners."
And, as Jenkins pointed out, Cerritos was no slouch. In the Dons' game on Saturday, they beat Hawthorne, 11-2.
West advanced to the second round against Simi Valley, the No. 2-ranked team in the nation. The score was tied, 2-2, in the sixth when two West errors led to four unearned runs. West finished with four errors.
The defensive lapses ruined a strong outing by pitcher Mike Myro, West's other right-handed starter.
"Mike Myro did an outstanding job," Jenkins said. "We have two good starters, but defensively we're weak right now. We're moving people around and trying different things in the preseason."
West received another strong pitching performance Tuesday from Dwayne Dinnocente and Jason McMinn, who combined on a one-hitter in a 1-0 victory over host Arcadia.
Jenkins considers it a down year for baseball in the area, an opinion supported by the fact that none of the 12 South Bay teams participating in the 32-team El Segundo tournament made it past the second round.