The CIF Southern Section was flourishing with competition.
Wartime travel restrictions were a thing of the past. There were games and more games, multiple tournaments, and big crowds.
Hoover, 13-6 in 19 games in the 1945-46 season, jumped to 33, with a 24-9 record. San Diego High, 19-5 in 24 outings, played 34 and was 28-6.
Teams in the new Basketball Association of America, which became the NBA, played 60 games.
Hoover and San Diego, meeting the shorter high school schedule, competed almost as often as the pros in December and January.
Hoover won the Coast League race, but San Diego won the Beverly Hills Invitational. Hoover claimed the Chino tournament title, San Diego the Consolation trophy.
Hoover suffered in the Western States Tournament. San Diego finished third.
San Diego beat Hoover in their first meeting, but Hoover won the last two, tied the Hillers with a 9-3 league record, and won the invitation to the Southern Section playoffs.
Don Larsen, with 94 points in five league games, won the Metropolitan League scoring title (Grossmont’s Ken Tennison was next with 86 in 7), despite graduating from school in January.
Larsen was center of attention at Point Loma.
St. Augustine traveled a weird path, on cinder, asphalt, and hardwood.
Without a gymnasium, the Saints practiced outside and played a few “home” games at Horace Mann Junior High, visited Metro facilities, plus San Diego State, San Diego High, Kearny, and Hoover, and probably others not reported.
The Saints were a member of the Southland Catholic League in football, but played an independent schedule in basketball that included several Southland Catholic opponents.
Welcome guests in their own league, the Saints won one of three games in Southland Catholic Invitational.
The first major exercise of the season, on the court of Compton College, attracted 16 teams. At least one, Las Vegas, was from beyond the California border.
Bill Curtis’s 20th point was a free throw with five seconds remaining and pushed San Diego past Whittier, 37-36, after the Hillers trailed, 27-16, in the third quarter.
The Cavers ran into trouble the next day, ousted by Los Angeles Mt. Carmel, 46-31, but claimed third place, 36-29, over Beverly Hills.
Hoover topped Montebello, 32-25, but ran afoul of Long Beach Poly, 35-30. L.A. Loyola then sent the Cardinals home with a 35-33 victory in the consolation round.
Hoover aggressively moved forward, defeating Azusa Citrus, 43-19, and Bonita, 44-16, to qualify for a semifinal game against top-seeded Burbank.
The Cardinals moved on with a 49-38 victory over the Bulldogs and then dismissed South Pasadena, 38-25, in the finals.
San Diego was chased by Riverside Poly, 41-24, but rebounded to run the Consolation table with victories of 56-32 over Fillmore, 61-30 over Pasadena, and 43-31 over Colton.
Hoover was bounced early, losing to Santa Ana, 37-36.
San Diego, with Jerry Dahms replacing the graduated Bill Curtis at center, defeated Inglewood, 46-25.
San Diego moved into the semifinals with a 38-32 win over Grossmont, which had won its opening game, 31-28 over El Segundo.
The Hillers concluded their season with a 39-36, semifinal victory over Anaheim and a 26-19 championship win over Coast League rival Compton.
Only league champions were invited. San Diego was out.
Coast League titlist Hoover and Metropolitan champ Grossmont won first-round games at home, but quarterfinals play the next day would be at Whittier College.
The Cardinals quickly ushered out Southern League champ Army-Navy, 53-9, and Grossmont eliminated Imperial Valley titlist El Centro Central, 34-24, avenging a loss to the Spartans in the small schools football championship several weeks before.
The early Saturday morning trip to Whittier didn’t agree with the two San Diego teams. Whittier thumped Grossmont, 61-41, and Mt. Carmel beat Hoover, 41-29, despite 19 points by McColl.
Mt. Carmel topped Whittier, 68-57, for the championship.
Bill McColl, Hoover’s 6-foot, 3-inch junior center, was on the all-Southern California first team. San Diego’s Ben Cendali, Point Loma’s Don Larsen, and Grossmont’s Dick Baker earned third-team honors.
Pasadena’s Dick Williams, future manager of the San Diego Padres, was the only non-San Diego athlete on one all-Coast League team, which included Bill McColl and Don Caldwell of Hoover and Sandy Borofsky and Ben Cendali of San Diego.
San Diego newspaper’s choices.
The five-team Coast League of San Diego, Hoover, Compton, Pasadena and Pasadena Muir, played a 12-game schedule, meaning three games each against opponents.
The Cardinals, Hillers, Tarbabes, Bullpups, and Mustangs logged miles and miles on U.S. 101.
Most trips were of two days: travel Friday, play a game that night, bus to the next opponent city, find a place to sleep, play the next day, and then bus back home.
Compton came South for a Friday night game at Hoover and returned to a home contest the next evening against San Diego, which played on Friday at Muir. Hoover completed the circle by visiting Muir on Saturday.
SIGNS OF THE TIME
The task of moving 850,000 cubic feet of soil from the bottom of Mission Bay and piling it up at Santa Clara Point to form part of the $15 million Mission Bay Aquatic Park was completed.
CRIME DOESN’T PAY
Twenty persons were arrested in a raid on an alleged bookmaking operation at 200 Market Street, blocks from the West Market location of the Police Station.
Bail was set at $250 for Claude Hodge of North 30th Street, who ran the establishment, and $10 for the 19 who were placing a bet.
Point Loma’s Don Larsen scored 28 points on 14 baskets in a 49-25 win over Kearny…Kearny had perhaps the most points ever by a San Diego County team when it defeated Vista, 82-50…San Diego’s Ben Cendali scored 37 points, including 26 in the first half, as the Hillers routed Pasadena Muir, 62-22…Cendali fell short of Ivan Robinson’s school-record 38, set in the 1943-44 season…Don Larsen had 110 points in 8 games in January and was the Breitbard Athletic Foundation Star of the Month…McColl won the award for February, after leading the Coast League with 164 points (13.6 average) and finishing as the County’s leading scorer with 369 and 10.8 average …it was a banner year for new coaches: Point Loma’s Don Giddings won the Metropolitan League football championship; Jim Ahler led Hoover to the Coast League basketball title, as did Grossmont’s Ralph Chaplin in the Metro…future coaches John (Duke) Early and Jesse Thompson were standouts for St. Augustine…Grossmont fell behind Escondido, 16-11, and then outscored the Cougars, 40-4, for a 51-20 victory…more than 1,500 were in attendance for the Metropolitan League showdown at Grossmont, which defeated Point Loma, 37-29, and closed out with a 7-0 loop record and 16-2 overall…visiting Hoover’s 43-32 win over San Diego in front of a full house was the difference in the Coast title race despite the teams’ finishing with the same record….
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San Diego’s Sandy Borofsky hits the floor as ball is loose in Hoover-San Diego battle. Others are Cardinals’ Don Caldwell (54) and Bill McColl, and San Diego’s Bob Spaeth (foreground.) Hoover won, 43-32, clinched Coast League title.