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Verdugo Hills' Potter Scores High on Early Season Report Card

December 17, 1995|Vince Kowalick

The way Maurice Potter is pouring in the points, one can only imagine what might have been at Verdugo Hills High.

Potter, a 6-foot-5 senior forward for the Dons, has overcome a history of academic woes to emerge as one of the area's most-prolific scorers. After missing two seasons because of academic ineligibility, Potter is averaging 34.1 points a game and has scored more than 40 points three times while leading Verdugo Hills to a 5-3 start.

Potter's average is even more impressive considering he registered only five points in the Dons' opener against Estancia. Potter played only one quarter in that game because of leg cramps.

Since then, Potter's performances have frustrated defenses. Some teams have attempted double- and triple-team coverage against him to no avail.

"He's just very good in the open court and he's really good at taking people to the basket," Verdugo Hills Coach Scott Kemple said.

Kemple has not seen a player like Potter since 1993, when senior Eddie Powell averaged 28.6 points and 13.5 rebounds. Powell, now playing at Mt. San Antonio College, scored a school-record 1,123 points in two seasons, averaging 26.7 a game.

"They both have that instinctive way of playing, like they're such a natural at basketball," Kemple said. "But the way they score points is completely different. Eddie always brought the ball up and could blow by people. Maurice kind of gets his a little more from the inside, but he still has that same open-court ability Eddie Powell had."

Potter watched Powell from the sidelines, where he spent his freshman season because of academic ineligibility. Watching and wondering left Potter with an empty feeling.

"I could have played with him on the team, but I didn't have the grades," Potter said. "He was a good team player, the best high school player I've ever seen.

"He comes down once in a while and I've talked to him a little bit. He tells me to stay here and not to give up."

Potter, who averaged 18 points a game last season, is 403 points shy of Powell's career total. With at least 17 games remaining, Potter can reach the record by averaging 23.7 points--provided he remains eligible.

But Potter says that won't be a problem.

"I never used to take school seriously," Potter said. "But I've quit messing around."


Jacob Waasdorp won't soon forget Greg Mattison. And neither will anyone associated with athletics at Quartz Hill High.

Mattison, 43, a Quartz Hill alum and assistant wrestling coach at the school, died last March after a three-year battle with colon and lung cancer.

Administrators paid tribute to Mattison by renaming the school's annual wrestling tournament the Greg Mattison Rebel Classic.

Waasdorp, among the area's top wrestlers at 215 pounds, improved to 19-0 on Saturday with his 17th pin. However, Waasdorp failed to place in the tournament because he missed two matches while attending an awards banquet.

If not for Mattison, Waasdorp, a junior and a Times All-Valley defensive lineman this season, might never have decided to wrestle.

"He was like a dad to me," Waasdorp said. "He got me out for wrestling and told me I would do well. I'm also good friends with his two sons."

Like their father, Weslee and Mikel Mattison have wrestled at Quartz Hill.

Weslee is a junior and defending Southern Section Division IV champion at 135 pounds. He placed first Saturday at 145 pounds.

Mikel placed second in Division IV at 165 last season and currently is wrestling at Moorpark College.

Waasdorp placed second in the Golden League as a heavyweight last season before losing in the first round of the section finals. He expects to fare better at 215, a new class created this season by the California Interscholastic Federation.

"I pretty much went into it with a big head," Waasdorp said of last year's finals.

"I should have won."

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