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High Schools | SPOTLIGHT ON GIRLS' BASKETBALL

An Unusual Fight Gains Attention

January 29, 2002|MARTIN HENDERSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

It's not unusual for frustration to lead to an elbow, a push or even a punch during a game, but the Jan. 18 fracas at Carson High was an eye-opener.

In the final minute of Gardena's victory over Carson, a student came out of the stands and hit Gardena player Alexis Johnson, creating confusion on the floor as players and fans converged.

The instigator was a female student from Hawthorne High, a school that wasn't even involved in the game.

She ran from the front row of the bleachers to take a swing at Johnson, who was not hurt.

"I never even thought of hiring school police for a girls' event, but for boys, we always hire school police," said Jeff Davis, assistant principal at Carson. "It's very sad that this happened, and we're taking whatever steps we can to ensure it doesn't happen, but it's totally isolated."

Davis said he had two deans on site, and though there was apparently a running dialogue between the Hawthorne student and the Gardena player during the game--Gardena came from behind to win--there was nothing that indicated it was malicious.

"This is my third year and we haven't had any problem with any spectator at any sport on our end," Davis said. "And now this, someone who doesn't even go to our school or live in our community comes in and causes a problem."

As a result, when the Carson girls play Harbor City Narbonne on Friday in their next night home game, which also figures to be an emotional contest, there will be at least two campus security officers on hand.

Davis said they will be sitting in the stands, which is atypical, since most security mans the doorways.

At a boys' game last week, Davis had security personnel in the front row of the stands on both sides of the floor.

"We have to learn," Davis said, "[but] I don't know if I had someone there [at the girls' game] that it would have mattered."

*

Brentwood flash: Eshaya Murphy of Van Nuys Montclair Prep may be the top scorer in the Southland, but it was a move by Brentwood freshman Brie Brown that stole the show in her team's 70-54 victory over Montclair Prep in a Delphic League showdown last week.

A driving Brown made a behind-the-back layup in the early stages of a 21-0 run that broke a 17-17 tie in the second quarter.

"I taught her that about a month ago," said Brentwood Coach Dan Smith, a claim that Brown confirmed.

Most impressive was that Brown made the move in a moment of need, not a moment of vanity.

"I'm not looking to be fancy," Brown said. "It was just there."

*

Principal player: Old-fashioned principles paid off on Saturday for Chandi Gilling, a senior at Chino Hills Ayala, who made a huge difference in Ayala's 58-55 upset of then-No. 4 Fullerton Troy.

"This was a big game for us and it was my time to step up," Gilling said. "I got up early this morning to shoot the ball for about 90 minutes."

Gilling, who averages eight points, made seven of nine from the field and scored 14 against the Warriors.

"I said before the season began that she would be the key to what we do," Coach Mel Sims said. "If she ever comes on, we'll be good."

*

Hold on, honey: Troy Coach Kevin Kiernan and his wife, Christine, are expecting their second child any day now; her expected due date was Sunday.

But when Troy played San Clemente last week during the MLK Classic--pitting teams then ranked No. 3 and 4 by The Times--Kiernan was worried that Christine, who is also an assistant coach, might have the baby on the day of the game.

"I just hope it doesn't happen today," Kiernan said before tipoff. "Win or lose, I want to see this game."

San Clemente won, 66-62, after Kiernan called a timeout he didn't have available to him with 2.6 seconds left and trailing, 63-62.

"We checked the tape," Kiernan said, "and it looks like we got shorted a timeout. It looks like they charged one of San Clemente's to us. I don't want to take anything away from San Clemente.... We might not have won anyway."

*

Marquis watch: Things should remain status quo this week for Alhambra Keppel. The team's coach, Richard Marquis, remains under investigation for undisclosed reasons, leaving the team under the direction of Tan Ha.

Lois Nash, assistant superintendent of human resources for the Alhambra School District, said it's unlikely any action will take place this week because Superintendent Myrna Rivera will be unavailable.

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