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March 31, 1994|SEAN WATERS

STEPPING DOWN

Santa Monica men's basketball Coach John McMullen will take a one-year leave of absence for personal reasons and will be replaced by assistant Marvin Menzies.

"I just felt like after 30 years of coaching, including the last 16 at Santa Monica College, that I needed a chance to spend more time with my wife and two sons before they go off to college. It's a good time to take a break."

McMullen's oldest son, Andy, is a former track and basketball player who is attending Moorpark College. Brian McMullen is a football, basketball and baseball player at Oak Park High near Agoura.

Last season, McMullen guided the Corsairs (20-11) to the first round of the California Community College State tournament. The team lost to Cerritos, 84-80.

Menzies has been an assistant for three years at Santa Monica.

"He will take the job for a year on an interim basis," McMullen said. "It will be a great experience for him."

"I look forward to coming back after a year meaner than ever."

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

James Gray of Santa Monica College is a highly regarded point guard sought after by several Division I schools. Gray, however, has to earn an associate of arts degree because he did not graduate from Westchester.

"Academically, he's working hard to get his degree," McMullen said. "Hopefully he will make it, but that's a question mark. He may have to sit out a year. If he gives a good effort this semester, he can make it."

In his final season of community college eligibility, Gray averaged 17 points, six rebounds and six assists a game. The 6-foot-3 point guard was named to the Western State Conference first team and was an honorable mention all-state selection. He is being recruited by Oklahoma, Long Beach State, Hawaii and New Mexico State.

Gray is one of three sophomores who played for the Corsairs.

Pat Lampson, a 6-7 forward who averaged 12 points and six rebounds, is being recruited by Pacific. Kevin DeWig, a 6-4 forward, is being recruited by NCAA Division II schools Humboldt State, San Francisco State and La Verne. National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics member The Master's College has also expressed interest.

CULTURAL EXCHANGE

Seisho High of Sizuoka, Japan, played Crossroads and Santa Monica during its one-week trip to Southern California and Mexico. It was the second consecutive year the school made the trip after winning a 13-team tournament in its hometown.

Seisho split its doubleheader at Santa Monica High, losing to Crossroads, 6-2, Saturday morning and beating Santa Monica, 8-1, in the afternoon.

COLLEGE-BOUND

Matt Higgins of St. Bernard High received a scholarship Thursday to play football at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Higgins is a 6-4, 270-pound strong tackle.

MR. PRIME TIME

For those who watch serial dramas, R.J. Francis plays the role of Trevor Whitsig on NBC's "Sisters." For those who watch high school baseball, Francis is one of the top pitchers for Beverly Hills High.

Friday, Francis had a no-hitter for 6 2/3 innings, but gave up a triple to Carlos Reed of Morningside. Francis struck out the next batter, his 10th strikeout of the game, to preserve a 16-0 shutout of Morningside at La Cienega Park.

"He was dominating," Beverly Hills Coach Bill Erickson said. "The only ball hit hard was the triple, which should have been a base hit. Left fielder Jerry Cohen made a tremendous effort trying to catch the ball."

The last time a Norman pitched a no-hitter was a combined effort by Larry Borlenghi and Keith Long in 1985.

STAT WATCH

* St. Bernard leadoff batter Dana Harrison had six hits in eight at-bats with three stolen bases in two games against Alemany last week. Harrison is batting .516 with 12 stolen bases and 17 runs.

* University designated hitter Lee Reinis had three hits last week to raise his batting average to .448. He has three home runs and 12 runs batted in.

* Notre Dame Academy pitcher Natalie Tun pitched a no-hitter in a 10-0 victory over St. Bernard March 15. Tun (3-3) had eight strikeouts to raise her total to 35 in 40 innings.

* Eco Canillas of Beverly Hills ran the girls' 100-meter hurdles in 16.6 seconds and had a mark of 31-5 3/4 to win the shotput in the Beverly Hills/Westside Classic track and field meet Saturday at Beverly Hills.

* Santa Monica High freshman Leilani Bagby shot a 44 during nine holes to place third as the Vikings beat Peninsula No. 2, 219-237, in a Bay League match Friday at Rivera Country Club. Paul McKee and Matt Zitner had low scores of 40 for the Vikings.

SOCCER ALL-STARS

Hamilton senior David Close is a finalist for the 1994 Puma Cup Invitational, the only national all-star soccer tournament for high school seniors.

More than 500 players nationwide were evaluated to compete in the tournament that will be staged June 9-11. ESPN will televise the tournament, which consists of four 16-member regional teams.

Close, a forward who had seven goals and 12 assists for the Yankees, is being considered along with 50 other finalists for the 16-member West regional team. He is one of two finalists selected from the City Section.

Players are being evaluated for their soccer achievements, high school transcripts, college entrance examination scores and letters of recommendation.

A NIGHT FOR STARS

Beverly Hills center Luke Buffum, The Times' 1993 Westside player of the year, and St. Bernard center Marte Alexander are scheduled to compete Friday at Gardena High in the South Bay-Westside all-star game for senior boys and girls basketball players.

The girls' game begins at 6 p.m. and the boys' game is expected to start at 8.

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