1942-43: It’s All About Victory

Galvanized Americans had Victory on their minds as the war moved into its second year.

San Diego school officials, living in the hub of the defense industry, pitched in.  They created the Victory League and put the Metropolitan League in a basketball drydock.

Call theirs a New Year’s Resolution.

Coronado coach Hal Niedermeyer had announced a Metro schedule of one round of nine games on December 10.

But on Jan. 12, when play got under way, the circuit had a new name, a positive acknowledgement of Uncle Sam’s rallying cry for Victory in Europe and Japan.

The Metro, born in 1933 and inclusive of the city’s and suburbs’ smaller schools, would not return until after the 1945-46 academic year.


Low fuel tanks and balding tires were by-products of the need for precious wartime materials.

Jim Glasson was one of key players for San Diego coach Merrill Douglas’ squad.

Necessary gas rationing and travel restrictions were such that the league did not include all members who competed in the similar Metropolitan loop during football season.

Victory travel would be by streetcar or bus.

Suburban Sweetwater and rural Escondido and Oceanside were forced to bail.

Night games were at the option of host schools.

As they did in football for the 1942 season, local titans San Diego High and Hoover split their squads.  Four teams included the San Diego Blues and Whites and the Hoover Reds and Whites.


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2016-17 Regionals:  Helix and Serra Reach Finals

The Helix boys and Serra girls are still in the hunt.

Both teams have reached the finals of the Southern California Regional playoffs, last step before the state championships March 24-25 at the Golden Center in Sacramento.

Helix (30-5), the No. 2 seed in Division IV, defeated Carson of the L.A. City Section, 56-53, for its 21st consecutive victory, 15th in a row at home, and now will play its fourth straight game as host, Saturday night at 6.

The Highlanders will take on Reedley Immanuel (23-8), with the winner meeting the Northern California champion, either Salinas Palma or Vallejo St. Patrick-St. Vincent, which also play Saturday evening.

D-III six seed Serra (23-10) qualified to meet 1 seed Anaheim Rosary (28-5) after a 57-51 win over No. 2 Camarillo.


St. Augustine strived mightily against the taller and favored hosts from Santa Ana Mater Dei, but the Saints were only 6 for 22 in three-point attempts and committed 22 turnovers in a 63-57 loss.

Taeshon Cherry scored 25 points and had 11 rebounds for the San Diego club and was the best player on the floor.

The Saints should be back knocking on the door again in 2017-18.

Fourteen D-III seed Orange Glen’s unexpected ride came to an end when the Patriots were outscored, 17-7, in overtime and dropped a 72-62 decision at No. 2-ranked Villa Park.

Mission Hills was a 66-57 loser at Long Beach Poly and The Bishop’s, after a 315-mile ride, over the Grapevine and up Highway 99, were run off the floor by Clovis West, 73-31, in Girls’ Open Division contests.

Rancho Bernardo was a 57-49 loser to Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos in D-IV, and Olympian was ousted, 70-53, by Riverside Notre Dame in D-V.


With Cal-Hi Sports’ last rankings to be made after the state finals. San Diego’s representation could change.

St. Augustine had moved from seventh to fourth before the Mater Dei game and Torrey Pines was 15th in boys’ play.

Mission Hills was fourth in the girls’ rankings and The Bishop’s had jumped from unranked to 12th after upsetting Studio City Harvard-Westlake, 63-60, in the quarterfinals.


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2016-17: And Then There Were 8

The  Southern California regional of the state playoffs reached the semifinal round after San Diego Section teams qualified eight of the 17 teams it sent to the weekend quarterfinals.

All local boys and girls teams except Helix will be on the road Tuesday night.  The Highlanders (29-5), seeded No. 2 in Boys’ Division IV, play host to 3 seed Carson (23-6)  of the Los Angeles City Section.

Beginning with Open Division  6 seed St. Augustine (28-4), a scrappy, 88-81 winner over nationally regarded and Southern California third-ranked Chatsworth Sierra Canyon, all section teams except Helix will be in against favored clubs.

The Saints will try for the third time at No. 2 Santa Ana Mater Dei (32-2), having lost to the Monarchs, 86-62, in the Diablo Inferno at Mission Viejo on Dec. 3 and 74-62 at the Nike Extravaganza Feb. 4 at Mater Dei.

If there is a potential Cinderella, the D-IV Orange Glen Patriots are the top candidate at this juncture.

The 14 seed from east Escondido visits No. 2 Villa Park.  The Patriots are the South’s ranked squad still alive in  boys or girls.

The lowest overall  seed in the state still playing is Santa Rosa Cardinal Newman, a No. 15 in the Northern California D-II regional.  Eastlake, a 12 seed in D-V, visits No. 1 Riverside Notre Dame.

Helix, should it defeat Carson, would take on the winner of No. 1 Burbank (25-9)  and No. 5 Reedley Immanuel (22-8) on Saturday, March 18, at 6 p.m. If Burbank wins, the Bulldogs would host.  If Immanuel wins, Helix would host.


The Bishop’s (30-3), seeded fifth in the Open, will make the South regional’s longest trip, 368 miles, to face No. 1-ranked Clovis East (31-2).

Mission Hills (31-2), seeded  third in the Open, revisits 2 seed Long Beach Poly, which sent the Grizzlies home with a 58-41 loss in the first round of the 2015 regional.

The four Girls’ opponents are ranked 2, 1, 2, and 1.  One of those top-ranked squads is Camarillo, which represents a 175-mile trip for No. 6 Serra.


Division Team Opponent
Open 6 St. Augustine (28-4) @2 Santa Ana Mater Dei (32-2)
III 14 Orange Glen (23-9) @2 Villa Park, 25-6
IV 2 Helix (29-5) 3 Carson (23-6)


Division Team Opponent
Open 3 Mission Hills (30-2) @ 2 Long Beach Poly (25-3)
5 The Bishop’s (30-3) @1 Clovis West (31-2)
III 6 Serra (22-10) @2 Camarillo (30-3)
IV 4 Rancho Bernardo (23-6) @1 Rancho  Cucamonga Los Osos (25-3)


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2016-17 Regionals: Seventeen Remain in Play

With Open Division play beginning with quarterfinals tonight, seventeen of 31 San Diego Section teams remain in the Southern California regionals of the state playoffs.

Boys teams won seven of Wednesday’s 13, opening-round games, were 6-1 in road games and 3-3 at home.  

Four lower seeds, Vista, Orange Glen, Olympian, and Mission Hills won and three higher seeds, Foothills Christian, Mater Dei, and La Costa Canyon lost.

Girls teams won 6 of 14, opening-round games Wednesday, were 6-1 at home, and 0-7 on the road.   Favored Poway was beaten by Huntington Beach, 52-43, in the only upset.

Biggest surprises so far were No 11 seed Vista’s remarkable, double-overtime, 97-94 win at No. 6 Rancho Santa Margarita and, just a few miles South, No. 13 Orange Glen’s 66-65, overtime victory at No. 4 Capistrano Valley.

Going into tonight’s four Open Division contests, San Diego Section clubs are 13-14 overall, 9-4 at home, and 6-8 on the road.

San Diego teams will be visitors in 11 of the 16 quarterfinals games.


Open 6 St. Augustine (27-4) @3 Chatsworth Sierra Canyon (27-4)
8 Torrey Pines (28-4) @1 Torrance Bishop Montgomery (27-2)


Div. Team Opponent
I 11 Vista (29-3) @3 Woodland Hills Taft (26-10)
II 12 Mission Hills (22-8) 13 Pasadena (25-6)
III 8 Santa Fe Christian (21-10) @1 Ontario Colony (28-5)
13 Orange Glen (22-9) @6 Selma (30-4)
IV 2 Helix (28-5) 7 Torrance West  (23-8)
V 4 Brawley (27-7) 13  Olympian (29-3)



Open 3 Mission Hills (29-2) 6 Rancho Cucamonga Etiwanda (26-2)
5 The Bishop’s (29-3) @4 Studio City Harvard-Westlake (25-4)


Div. Team Opponent
I 8 La Jolla Country Day (18-11) @1 L.A. Windward (26-4)
III 6 Serra (21-10) @3 L.A. Marlboro (22-8)
7 Mater Dei (22-11) @2  Camarillo (29-4)
IV 4 Rancho Bernardo (26-6) 5 Cerritos Valley Christian (22-9)
6 Scripps Ranch (27-5) @3 Sun Valley Village Christian (29-3)
V 7 Escondido Adventist (23-3) @2 Irvine Crean (19-11)



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2016-17 Regionals: Saints, Torrey Get Rugged First Tests

Thirty-one teams from the San Diego Section begin play Wednesday and Friday nights in the Southern California regional  playoffs.

Regional winners will qualify for the state championships against Northern California winners.

The CIF state committee which created the seedings and brackets based on the power ratings model didn’t think highly of the San Diego Section’s 15 boys’ teams chances or those of the 16 girls’ squads.

Helix, seeded second in Boys’ D-IV, is the highest ranked boys club.  Brawley, a 4 seed in D-V, is the only other male team with a seeding higher than 6.

Helix (28-5) gets a Wednesday night home game against No. 15 Granada Hills (14-16), better known as the alma mater of Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway.

Brawley, Foothills Christian, Mater Dei, and Santa Fe Christian are the only others with home games.

St. Augustine and Torrey Pines, San Diego Section Open Division finalists, were placed in the eight-team regional Open, which begins play Friday night.

Helix, on an 18-game winning streak and having played a decidedly easier, mostly local schedule, was given a lower division slot and a presumed stronger prospect of advancing to the to the state final.

St. Augustine and Torrey Pines played stronger intersectional schedules and were “rewarded” with first-round road games against loaded, nationally ranked Southern Section teams Chatsworth Sierra Canyon  and Torrance Bishop Montgomery, respectively.


Nine teams earned seeds that will give them home games, beginning Wednesday night.

Mission Hills (29-2) is No. 3 in the Open Division and plays host on Friday to a dangerous 6 seed, 28-2 Rancho Cucamonga Etiwanda.

Rancho Bernardo (4), The Bishop’s (5), Serra (6), Scripps Ranch (6), Mater Dei (7), and Escondido Adventist (7) all will act as hosts.

The biggest underdog of all 31 teams appears to be the Guajome Park Frogs, who have a 19-9 record but are seeded 16th in boys’ D-V and will travel to No. 1 seed Riverside Notre Dame.


1–St. Augustine, 2–Torrey Pines, 3–Foothills Christian, 4–Helix, 5–Vista, 6—Mater Dei, 7—Mission Hills, 8—Santa Fe Christian, 9—La Jolla Country Day, 10—Canyon Crest.


OPEN 6 St. Augustine 27-4 @Chatsworth Sierra Canyon 3 27-2
8 Torrey Pines 28-4 @Torrance Bishop Montgomery 1 27-2
1 7 Foothills Christian 24-6 Oak Park 10 22-8
11 Vista 28-3 @Rancho Santa Margarita 6 21-8
II 8 Mater Dei 23-5 Studio City Harvard-Westlake 9 21-11
12 Mission Hills 21-8 @Moreno Valley Rancho Verde 5 26-3
III 7 La Jolla Country Day 19-10 L.A. Washington 10 22-6
8 Santa Fe Christian 20-10 Vista Murrieta 9 24-5
14 Orange Glen 21-6 @Capistrano Valley 3 25-6
IV 2 Helix 27-5 Granada Hills 15 14-16
13 Sage Creek 14-17 @Twentynine Palms 4 27-3
14 Lincoln 21-12 @L.A. Carson 3 21-6
V 12 Olympian 28-3 @Bermuda Dunes Desert Christian 5 22-5
16 Guajome Park 19-9 @Riverside Notre Dame 1 29-3
4 Brawley 21-7 L.A. Watts New Design 13 19-2


OPEN 3 Mission Hills 29-2 Rancho Cucamonga Etiwanda 6 28-2
5 The Bishop’s 28-3 @Studio City Harvard-Westlake 4 25-4
I 8 La Jolla Country Day 18-11 L.A. Palisades 9 25-9
13 Eastlake 23-7 @Brea-Olinda 4 23-7
II 13 La Costa Canyon 25-5 @L.B. Millikan 4 19-8
14 Westview 19-10 @Mission Hills Chaminade 3 16-11
7 Poway 24-6 Huntington Beach 10 23-9
III 13 San  Marcos 19-11 @Lawndale Leuzinger 4 23-10
6 Serra 20-10 L.A. Westchester 11 18-16
7 Mater Dei 21-11 San Juan Capistrano JSerra 10 16-14
IV 16 Lincoln 27-4 @Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos 1 22-3
4 Rancho Bernardo 25-6 L.A. Torres 13 20-6
6 Scripps Ranch 26-5 Pasadena 11 22-10
V 12 Maranatha 19-8 @Palos Verdes Rolling Hills 5 28-3
7 Escondido Adventist 22-3 Riverside Carnegie 10 16-4
15 Pacific Ridge 10-14 Irvine Crean 2 18-11


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2016-17, Week 10: Happy Trails, Saints Landmark

Dougherty Gymnasium went out in a blaze…of technicals!

The final two games at  St. Augustine were in  keeping with the history of the  64-year-old building, a bandbox of often ear-splitting noise, tightly-packed crowds, and  barnburner finishes.

Foothills Christian coach Brad Leaf will be serving a suspension when the Knights open play in the Southern California regionals of the state playoffs next week.

Despite the 72-69 loss to the Saints in semifinals of the San Diego Section playoffs,  Foothills will join St. Augustine, Torrey Pines, and five other local Open Division teams in the extended postseason.

Blame Leaf’s one-time benching on the decibel level created by the overflowing mass of humanity in the old gym or the spirit of Fr. Dougherty.

Fr. Joseph Dougherty was an Augustinian Provincial who led the  fund-raising drive that resulted in the Dec. 2, 1952, dedication of the squat, brick edifice that seats maybe 700 persons and occupies a campus niche on Palm Avenue between 32nd and Nutmeg streets.


Leaf received two technicals and an automatic ejection with 1.5 seconds remaining in the game.

As a team, Foothills was hit with three technicals because  a Knights player, or Leaf, called time out after Foothills rebounded a missed shot with 1.9 seconds remaining and the score tied at 69.

Foothills, however, was out of time outs, prompting the first whistle.

Leaf got into trouble when he began shouting that he had not called time out, resulting in technical No. 1.

When Leaf stalked the referee across the court, another in the crew raised his right hand to signal the second technical and ejection.

“It was a chaotic situation,” Leaf later said to writer John Maffei of the Union-Tribune.  “The gym was packed, everyone was standing. It was tough to hear or see anything….”


The Saints’ Taeshon Cherry was shown the door three nights before  after the player complained about a  foul in the second quarter of the Saints’ 68-45, quarterfinals win over La Costa Canyon.

CIF commissioner Jerry Schniepp overturned Cherry’s ejection after the crew of officials admitted  a mistake and that Cherry had not received two technicals, since the first whistle had resulted in a common foul.

Saints coach Mike Haupt didn’t start Cherry against Foothills but the 6-foot, 8-inch junior got into the game minutes later and scored 17 points.


The Saints’ game hero was Otto Taylor, a 6-1 senior who scored 23 points and hit three free throws in six attempts (two for each technical) with 1.5 remaining to give St. Augustine the victory.


Dougherty Gym will be used for other school purposes next season, when the Saints move into their new 1,500-seat arena on campus…the Open finals Saturday night at the Jenny Craig Pavilion on the University of San Diego campus will match the No. 1 (St. Augustine) and No. 2 (Torrey Pines) teams in the Union-Tribune weekly poll..the girls Open final will bring together No. 1 Mission Hills and No. 2 The Bishop’s…St. Augustine is eighth in the Cal-Hi Sports state top 20 and Torrey Pines is 16th…Mission Hills is fourth and The Bishop’s is on the bubble in the girls’ top 20….

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1941-42: Season Survives After Pearl Harbor

San Diego High players weren’t thinking of tomorrow.

They were more interested in savoring a 27-24 victory at Coronado as the team boarded the ferry for the short ride back to the docking slip near Pacific Highway and Market Street.

The Cavers may even have been discussing the merits of crosstown rival Hoover’s 52-36 victory over Santa Ana the night before.

The time, about 10 p.m.,  Dec. 6, 1941.

Fourteen hours later, as reports began to reach the Pacific Coast of a Japanese surprise attack at Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands, the game would be quickly forgotten.

Students and players from around San Diego County began to react to the chaotic events 2,500 miles away.

On Dec. 8,  as written by Don King in  Caver Conquest, King’s athletic history of San Diego High,  “…many in the record 3,316 students brought radios to hear latest reports…most gathered in the gym and auditorium to hear President Roosevelt address Congress and declare war.”

King also noted:

–Twenty-four San Diego High students joined the military within 10 days of the attack.

–Dances and banquets were canceled.

–The school newspaper, the Russ, suggested that the campus, strategically located near crucial military facilities, was important in contingency planning in event of an enemy attack on San Diego.

–Principal John Aseltine urged students to remain calm amid (possible) exaggerated war reports and to continue their routine as much as possible.

–Students volunteered to serve as messengers, took postings at civilian defense facilities, provided child care for defense workers, cared for the elderly during blackouts, and worked tirelessly in the defense effort.

The situation probably was much the same at the area’s other educational institutions.

The County included 18 high schools:

Ermer Robinson (right), in 1948 game against George Mikan and Minneapolis Lakers, played 14 years with Harlem Globetrotters.

–San Diego, Hoover, Point Loma, La Jolla, and St. Augustine, in the city;

–Coronado, Sweetwater, Grossmont, Fallbrook, Oceanside, San Dieguito, Vista, Escondido, Ramona, Julian, and Mountain Empire, located in the outskirts and beyond;

–Two,  private military schools, San Diego Army-Navy in Carlsbad and Brown Military in Pacific Beach.

All had basketball teams.

Universal travel and game restrictions had not yet been applied.  Many schedules had been set, guarantees sometimes agreed to, and, in an attempt to continue as before, interscholastic sports went forward.

Most varsities played at least 12-15 games, plus there was another dozen or so by junior varsity,  Bee, Cee, and D  squads.  A basketball fan would have a choice of more than 700 games on a three-month menu.


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2016-17 Week 9: Saints Figure to be Wary in First Round

St Augustine finished No. 1 in the Union-Tribune regular-season poll, is the San Diego Section’s No. 1 seed in the Open Division playoffs, and is 11th in the state, according to Cal-Hi Sports as the Saints await No. 8 seed La Costa Canyon in a first-round game Saturday night in perhaps the last game ever at Dougherty Gym.

The tiny arena, erected in 1952, will remain standing and will serve other purposes on the Nutmeg Street campus, but the Saints will be playing in a new, 1,500-seat edifice in 2017-18.

The Saints (24-4) of coach Mike Haupt figure to dismiss  the 19-8 Mavericks of coach Dave Cassaw, but one look at results in the Southern Section first round last week shows that anything can happen in the postseason.

St. Augustine moved up one spot in the Cal-Hi ratings because seventh-ranked Mission Hills Alemany was upset by bubble team Long Beach Poly, 66-48.

The 18-point loss was enough to catch one’s attention, but Poly’s victory was achieved despite setbacks from the moment the Jackrabbits got on the bus.

A normal, 45-mile, hour-and-a-half ride to the San Fernando campus of Alemany turned into a 4 1/2-hour journey through torrential rain, wind, road closures, and a unscheduled stop when the charter broke down.

For Long Beach it was all’s well that ends well.

Second-seeded Torrey Pines (26-3) plays host to No. 7,  20-8 La Jolla Country Day at the other end of the San Diego Section Open bracket.

Looming in the quarterfinals for St. Augustine or La Costa Canyon is either 5 Mater Dei Catholic (22-4) or 4 Foothills Christian (23-5).

The winner at Torrey Pines will get No. 3 Vista (23-3) or No. 6 Mission Hills (20-7).


The Girls’ Open tournament favors Mission Hills, 26-2 and Cal-Hi’s state No. 4. The top-seed Grizzlies take on 8 seed Serra (20-8) Friday night.

The Bishop’s is seeded second in the Open Division, but was knocked out of the Cal-High Top 20 when upset last week, 44-42,  by charging La Jolla Country Day, 16-10, winner of six of its last seven, and seeded No. 3.

Union-Tribune Boys’ poll through Monday, Feb. 20:

Rank Team Record Points Last Poll
1 St. Augustine (8) 24-4 97 1
2 Torrey Pines (2) 26-3 90 2
3 Foothills Christian 23-5 81 3
4 Vista 25-3 68 4
5 Helix 23-5 54 5
6 Mater Dei 22-4 48 6
7 Mission Hills 20-7 33 7
8 La Jolla Country Day 20-8 31 8
9 Rancho Bernardo 21-6 10 NR
10 Poway 22-6 9 10

Others receiving votes: Olympian (25-2, 8 points) Canyon Crest (20-7,  7), Serra (24-4, 5), Granite Hills (22-6, 4), La Costa Canyon (20-7, 3), Coronado (27-3, 3).

Poll participants include John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune; Steve Brand (San Diego Hall of Champions), Terry Monahan, Union-Tribune correspondent),  Bill Dickens, Adam Paul, EastCountySports.com; Rick Willis, KUSI-TV; Rick Smith, partletonsports.com; Bodie DeSilva, sandiegopreps.com; Chris Davis, freelance;  Aaron Burgin, fulltimehoops.com.

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2016-17 Week 8: Playoffs Next as Leagues Finish

The regular season ends on Friday night and power ratings to determine divisional playoff appointments will follow on Saturday.

St. Augustine lost another first-place vote to Torrey Pines in the weekly Union-Tribune poll,  but is number one in the present power ratings, with Torrey Pines third.  Vista, which hasn’t played the marquee schedules of the Saints or Torrey Pines, is second in the power ratings.

The eight teams selected for the San Diego Section Open Division playoffs will have first-round byes, while divisions 1-5 will tee it up next week.

St. Augustine remained  12th in the Cal-Hi Sports weekly top 20 and Torrey Pines nudged up one notch to 19th.

Mission Hills remained fourth in the Cal-Hi  girls’ ratings, while the Bishop’s anchored at No. 20 for weeks, now is 18th.

Game of the week will be Thursday  night at La Jolla Country Day, where the state bubble team Torreys, 15-10, and winners of 5 in a row, will attempt to reverse a 62-53 loss to The Bishop’s, 27-1 and winner of 16 straight, early in the season.

The other girls bubble team is Eastlake (20-6).  Foothills Christian (20-5) and Vista (23-3) remain on the bubble in boys’ play.

Union-Tribune Boys’ poll through Monday, Feb. 13:

Rank Team Record Points Last Poll
1 St. Augustine (8) 23-4 98 1
2 Torrey Pines (2) 24-3 92 2
3 Foothills Christian 20-5 80 3
4 Vista 23-3 69 4
5 Helix 22-5 54 6
6 Mater Dei 20-4 42 7
7 Mission Hills 18-7 38 5
8 La Jolla Country Day 18-8 29 8
9 Poway 21-5 17 9
10 Serra 23-3 9 10

Others receiving votes: La Costa Canyon (19-6, 5 points), Olympian (21-2, 5), Rancho Bernardo (19-6, 4), Canyon Crest (18-7, 3), Orange Glen (17-7, 2), Granite Hills (20-6, 2).

Poll participants include John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune; Steve Brand (San Diego Hall of Champions), Terry Monahan, Union-Tribune correspondent),  Bill Dickens, Adam Paul, EastCountySports.com; Rick Willis, KUSI-TV; Rick Smith, partletonsports.com; Bodie DeSilva, sandiegopreps.com; Chris Davis, freelance;  Aaron Burgin, fulltimehoops.com.

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1946-47: Cardinals, Hillers Busy

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.


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