Mater Dei's Katin Reinhardt drives for a layup against Sacramento… (Steve Yeater / Associated…)
Who could have imagined a scenario where it would take a senior basketball player wearing a cast on his shooting hand because of a thumb injury to produce the best three-point shooting performance in a Division I state championship game?
Katin Reinhardt's six three-pointers Saturday night during Santa Ana Mater Dei's 66-48 victory over Sacramento Sheldon at Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento was both surprising and inspiring.
The best record remains the single-game performance for most points in a state final established by Tracy Murray of Glendora when he scored 64 points in the Division II final in 1989.
But Reinhardt's 30-point effort with an injured thumb will go down in history as one of the gutsiest performances.
"I finally found that stroke to shoot with a cast, and I was feeling it," Reinhardt said.
There's a good chance there will be 12 state championship games in basketball next year in Sacramento instead of 10. All it takes is a vote in May by the state Federated Council to add an Open Division.
The Southern Section probably will support the proposal because it would be able to add four more teams to the state tournament. If the Open Division had taken place this season, the Southern Section probably would have selected Santa Ana Mater Dei, Long Beach Poly, Gardena Serra and Mission Hills Alemany to compete in an eight-team Southern California Regional.
Removing those teams from the other divisions would have created more opportunities for public schools, right? That seems to be a key priority for some people around the state. I think it will diminish the other divisions, but no one seems to worry about handing out too many trophies.
There will be no shortage of celebrity sightings next basketball season. Mater Dei will have the sons of Lakers Coach Mike Brown and ex-major leaguer Darryl Strawberry, plus incoming ninth-grader Michael Cage Jr.'s father was an NBA player.
The son of baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield plays for Studio City Harvard-Westlake. The grandson of former UCLA coach Walt Hazzard plays for Loyola. The brother of Philadelphia 76ers guard Jrue Holiday plays for North Hollywood Campbell Hall. The youngest son of Atlanta Hawks Coach Larry Drew plays for Fairfax.
Get into weight room
It's when people aren't watching that prep athletes can transform themselves from average to exceptional, and it usually happens in the weight room.
This is the time football players are building up muscles and basketball players are trying to be that player who has changed physically and mentally.
In football, the summer passing leagues will be the first opportunity to see who has gotten faster, stronger and bigger. Los Angeles Valley College and Crescenta Valley High are holding seven-on-seven tournaments May 19, the earliest ever thanks to the implementation of a 16-game schedule this fall that's forcing the season to begin Aug. 24.
In basketball, spring games begin immediately. Among the young players to keep track of are 6-foot-8 Jack Williams of West Hills Chaminade and 7-foot Thomas Welsh of Loyola. Both will be juniors next season and are working hard to gain the necessary strength to be huge factors over the next two seasons. And how scary will Mater Dei's 6-7 Stanley Johnson look after he gets into the weight room for another two years?
Wooing Little Leaguers
Come this fall, the first members from the 2011 world champion Huntington Beach Ocean View Little League team will begin to enter high school, so understand the perfect timing of the Huntington Beach baseball team going 9-1 to start the season.
Even if players live in the Huntington Beach district, there are private schools wooing them as well as other public schools.
"It's open enrollment," Huntington Beach Coach Benji Medure said. "Kids can choose where they want to go."
So this fall and next fall, the Little Leaguers will be making their high school choices, and the baseball programs can't wait to land them.
"This year is a good year to be hot," Medure said.