1952-53: Gehring Leads Way to Hoop

Football, basketball, baseball, and track and field, the majors, remained seasonal sports for the best athletes, who usually participated in at least three.

Single-sport concentration and club teams were a half-century away, but a change was taking place in high school hoops this season.

There were many more games in which the competing teams scored at least 100 points.  Winning totals in the fifties and sixties were becoming common.

Sixty or more points were scored by the winning team in 19 games, compared to 4 in 1951-52.

Those 60-plus outbursts the season before had involved losing teams from tiny or barren programs: Brown Military (2), San Diego Vocational, and Julian.

City Prep League and Metropolitan League squads showed the way and Rich Gehring and the Escondido Cougars were in the vanguard.

The Cougars mounted a late-season run to tie Chula Vista and then defeated the Spartans, 53-51, in a Metro title-deciding playoff for their first league crown since 1938-39.

Coached by Jim Ahler, who had success at Hoover after World War II, Escondido started slowly, 2-5 in mid-December, but warmed following the Kiwanis Tournament and Christmas Holidays.

Chula Vista, the usual Metro League boss and annual Southern California small schools contender, was 6-0 until Gehring scored 23 points and teammate Don Portis 20 as the visiting Cougars defeated the Spartans, 62-50, and reversed a 42-38 loss in the league opener.

Gehring, with hands on knees, next to Ahler, led Cougars’ late-season run .

Escondido won its last seven league games and caught Chula Vista in the standings, both finishing at 11-3, as Gehring averaged 22.1 points.

Gehring’s 25 led a fourth-quarter, come-from-behind,  triumph over Chula Vista before more than 1,000 persons at San  Diego State three days after the regular season ended,

Escondido trailed by as many as seven points in the fourth quarter before Gehring’s basket and two free throws iced the victory after the Spartans tried to freeze a lead in the final two minutes.

Gehring, who averaged 22.8 points in his final 10 contests,  followed with 28 points in a 53-47, CIF small schools’ playoff victory over Calipatria and 20 points in a semifinals, 54-45 loss to Hemet.

The burly, 6-foot, 5-inch center also played end in  football and was the Metro League’s hurdles champion in the spring.


Gehring set a school record with 35 points in a 74-44 win over San Dieguito and averaged 18.4 with 258 points in 14 league games.

The outburst against the Mustangs was the difference in a points battle with Vista’s Ed Myers, who averaged 17.2 with 241 points in circuit play.

Gehring, who led the County with 440 points (17.1) for the 16-9 Cougars,  was almost matched in the CPL by Point Loma’s sharpshooting Ronnie Robertson, who scored 377 points in 22 games (17.1) and led the Pointers to the major CIF playoffs.

Robertson was force for Point Loma.

Helix’ Jerry Hurst nudged Robertson for the CPL scoring championship, scoring 221 points in 12 games and averaging 18.4 to Robertson’s 214 (17.8).

San Diego’s Willie Pitts averaged 15.6 points and was third in league play, topped by a 34-point effort (16 field goals, 2 free throws) when the Cavers set a school single-game scoring record in an 80-40 win at Grossmont.

Not to be outdone, Hoover got into the scoring trend, defeating Grossmont, 72-45.

Grossmont also was easy pickings for Robertson, who had 34 points in a 55-38 victory.

Chula Vista’s Lavon Baker (15.0) scored 210 points in league play and was third behind Gehring and Myers.  Oceanside’s Dick Whaley (14.3) had 200.


Beverly Hills defeated Grossmont, 74-51, setting a Kiwanis Tournament record of 125 points. Two teams had scored 109 points each in 1949.

Beverly Hills forward Dick Eiler, who moved south after attending the University of Utah and became head coach at Clairemont in 1960-61, set a single game record of 30.

Eiler’s four-game total of 85 bettered the mark of 72 by Kearny’s David Miramontes in 1950.

San Diego stunned Santa Monica with a 28-point third quarter in a 57-49 victory. Samohi outscored the Cavemen, 37-29, in the three other eight-minute periods


Pitts provided offense for Cavemen.

For the first time the tournament featured an all-San Diego final.

Paul Darrock’s 21 points, aided by 10 each from Dale Luther and Bob Hetzler, led the La Jolla to an overtime, 54-49 victory over San Diego on the Cavers’ floor. Tom Cofield had 20 and Ellsworth Powell 12 for San Diego.

A starting forward for La Jolla was Bob (Bones) Gutowski, who set a world track and field record of 15 feet, 8 inches, in the pole vault in 1957 while competing for Occidental College in Eagle Rock.


The 24-team tournament began on Thursday and did not end until Monday.

With Sunday off, Beverly Hills and others had a chance to visit San Diego tourist attractions.  Living at the Marine Corps Recruit Base allowed the visitors to get by on expenses.  Beds and meals were free.


San Diego dropped a December game to Long Beach Poly, 47-39, although Poly, the home team, had 25 personal fouls to 11 for the Cavers, who outscored the Jackrabbits, 23-9, at the free-throw line but were outscored from the field, 38-16.


Chula Vista and Escondido resolved their Metro League title deadlock with a playoff, because only one team would be invited to the eight team smalls schools postseason.

CIF small schools playoffs were divided into two, eight-team groups, Northern and Southern.

San Diego and Point Loma each finished with 9-3 CPL records and both qualified for the large, Central Group 24-team tournament.

CPL president Lawrence Carr of San Diego High  conducted a telephonic vote after the final Friday night games and league bosses gave the No. 1 nod to Point Loma, which twice defeated San  Diego.

Chet DeVore of Chula Vista has caught-with-hand-in-cookie-jar look, while colleagues Don Smith and Bob Ganger of Mar Vista (from left), seem disinterested as trio enjoyed  repast for coaches at Kiwanis Club pre-tournament luncheon.

The Pointers were byed into the 16-team second round against Colton, which had eliminated Point Loma, 44-36, in 1951-52.

The Pointers (17-9) dropped a 48-39 decision to the Yellowjackets at the same venue, San Bernardino Junior College, as the previous season and by an almost identical score difference.

San Diego (17-7) went out in the first round, beaten at Anaheim, 50-39.


Dick Bogenrife of Midway, Ohio, scored 120 points in a 137-47 victory over Canaan.  Midway coach Dick Strasburg said he “had planned for several games to turn him loose.”

Perhaps coincidentally, Bogenrife’s onslaught came three days after Mel (Fatty) Frye of Clarington set a state record with 80 points.


San Diego High’s single-game scoring record had stood since 1916-17, when the Hilltoppers defeated Escondido, 76-25, although a more significant victory was in a 1935-36 playoff game against Huntington Beach, which the Mike Morrow-coached Hillers outscored, 73-45…Ramona’s Bruce Furman, all of 5 feet, 1 inch, was a favorite of Kiwanis spectators…Mar Vista’s Glenn (junior) and Al Maisey (senior) were the only brothers in the CIF Southern Section to start every game…Hoover’s 11-12 record under first-year coach Charlie Hamption, was its poorest since before World War II…Kearny was 7-5 and third in the CPL and its 16-7 record was best in school history….

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2017: Tracksters Warm Up With Weather

Top performances in  seven events and 79 efforts earning 2017 top  10 distinction highlighted 11 league championships last week in San Diego Section boys’ and girls’ track and field competition.

Qualifiers from those meets will meet at Mt. Carmel High Saturday in Section trials.  Finals are scheduled at the same site on May 27, followed by the state meet in Clovis June 2-3.

The girls were the most aggressive, with the 4:57.08 in the 1600 meters by La Costa Canyon sophomore Jessica Riedman in the Avocado West finals at Canyon Crest leading the way.

Other elevated efforts came from the San Marcos 4×100 relay squad (:48.30), El Camino 4×1600 relay squad (3:59.76),  pole vault, 12-4 by Poway’s Jazmine Scott, and discus, 145-06 by El Camino’s Nu’u Tuilefano,.

Boys’ bests were the :10.64 in the 100 meters by Christian’s Benjamin Goodwin and  24-foot, 5 ½ inch long jump by Tri-City’s Matthew DeRoos.

DeRoos maintained his state lead  and Goodwin moved into 10th place among the state’s short sprinters.

A trio from Morse, although off state top 10 pace, turned in promising times in the Western League meet at University City.

Phillip McElroy ran: 10.70 in the 100 meters and: 21.84 in the 200, trailing teammates Richard Benson (:21.74) and Shamar Martin (:21.74).  Along with Rayvon Benson, the Morse 4×100 team ran: 42.68, below its seasonal best of :42.32.

The Morse sprinters, off those times, should be much faster in the short relay in the next couple weeks when the competition heats up.

The boys’ 400 is warming to a potentially big event, with sophomore Karson Lippert, running a comfortable :48.49 last week and with a Section No. 17 all-time best and state 2017 No. 4 ranking of :47.83,  the favorite but others are zeroing in.

Del Norte’s DeAngelo Gunter, competitively comatose since running :48.64 in March, got back on point with a :48.78 in the Palomar finals.  Morse’s Richard Benson ran :48.52 in the West.

San Diego Section athletes in among state top 10’s:


Event Name Mark State
800 Roberson, La Jolla 2:11.28 (5) 2:07.90, Brewer, San Ramon California.
300 Hurdles Scott, Vista :43.79 (10) :40.41, Anderson, Norco.
High Jump Hickey, Coronado 5-6 (9T) 5-10,  Hamm, Bakersfield Stockdale
Long Jump Scott, Gompers 19-1 (10T) 21-8 ¾, Davis,  Agoura


100 Goodwin, Christian :10.64 (10) :10.32, Cunningham, Moreno Valley Rancho Verde
400 Lippert, La Costa Canyon :47.83 (4) :47.32, Bowens, Long Beach Poly.
800 Chinn, Poway 1:53.21 (4) 1:50.64, Scales, Bellarmine Prep
Barr, Scripps Ranch 1:53.8 (8)
1600 Barr 4:14.51 (10) 3:59.80, Teare, Alameda St. Joseph
Shot Put Hardan, San Marcos 58-1 ¾ (9) 66-5 1/2 , Wilson, Clovis Buchanan
Long Jump DeRoos, Tri-City 24-5 ½ (1) 23-11 ½, Enoch, Yucca Valley
Hull-Littleton, Olympian 23-9 ¾ (4)
Olave,  Mission Hills 23-6 (9)
Triple Jump DeRoos 47-2 ½ (4) 50-4, Stevenson, Temecula Great Oak
Jackson, Eastlake 46-8 (7T)


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1951-52: Six of Significance

1) Point Loma’s almost rags-to-almost-riches season ended with a call from Uncle Sam.

2) Hoover’s 11-1 ride through the City Prep League and 23-win campaign stalled after an 11-point lead in the playoffs.

3) Helix, without a gymnasium, or a campus, did not play like a first-year team.

4) Chula Vista made the small schools finals again.

5) San Diego High took a back seat despite winning the Kiwanis Tournament and surprising in Beverly Hills.

6) A St. Augustine player brought new meaning to term basketball doubleheader.

Taking them in reverse:


Don McElhaney, a guard on the Saints’ Class B team, was pressed into action for the varsity game with La Jolla.

McElhaney, according to writer Gene Earl’s “High Line” column in The San Diego Union, started and went all the way in a 44-23 loss.

Not finished, McElhenny also started went all the way in the B game, a 37-26 loss to the Vikings, said Earl.

Two, probable 32-minute games in one day, equivalent to more than three overtimes in the NBA!


The 16-8 record, third-place, 7-5 finish in the CPL, a 55-33 loss to Long Beach Poly in December, and the broom from Hoover, 40-35, and 42-41, overshadowed some strong performances by San Diego.

The Hillers won the Kiwanis Tournament, defeating St. Augustine, 52-35, riding out overtime victories of 38-35 over Inglewood and 41-38 over Beverly Hills, and became an unexpected winner in the finals, 50-43 over Santa Monica after Samohi knocked out Hoover, 40-35.

The Cavers’ in-and-out CPL campaign was interrupted in midseason by the Beverly Hills Tournament.

San Diego’s Carl Beyrer and Chuck Pappert (from left) augmented tough-around-the-hoop Tom Cofield (middle).

The Cavers rebounded from their earlier loss to Poly, winning, 56-43, and defeated Huntington Beach 49-48, ending the Oilers’ 18-game winning streak.

San Diego was beaten in the semifinals the next day by Long Beach Wilson, 37-36, before coming back to top Ventura, 52-41, for third place.


Chet DeVore, who took on added responsibility as Chula Vista’s football coach in September, guided the Spartans into the Southern California finals again.

The Spartans raced to an 11-1 Metropolitan League record and were 16-11 overall but couldn’t repeat their 1950-51 championship.

A 41-32 win over Southern Prep champ Ramona in the first round was followed by a win over Hemet that snapped the Bulldogs’ 17-game winning streak, but Claremont, a loser to the Spartans in ’51, won the rematch, 34-33.


It could be said that Grossmont tolerated the arrival of first-year Helix.

The Foothillers were forced to share their campus with Helix students while the new school was being constructed on University Avenue in La Mesa.

Nor could Grossmont athletic personnel have been happy with the necessary, new enrollment boundary.

Grossmont standouts Noel Mickelsen and Chuck Lehmkuhl resided in the Highlanders’ district.

Another inconvenience was basketball coach Ralph Chaplin’s also moving with his star players.

The Highlanders became heroes to all other first-year teams when they edged El Monte, 35-32, for the Kiwanis Limited Division title and were a credible 6-6 in the CPL and 16-7 overall.

A final indignity came when the Highlanders swept two league games from the their big brothers at Grossmont.


Point Loma coach Hilbert Crosthwaite whistled the Pointers’ first practice in October, determined to improve on the 5-17 record in 1950-51 and pondering his future.

A few weeks later Crosthwaite, a Lt. Cmdr. in the Navy Reserve, received orders to report on Jan. 1 to the Brooklyn Naval Yard submarine command in New York.

Point Loma coeds are agog as action gets close. La Jolla’s Don Clark and Pointers’ Dave Gibson (behind Clark) scramble for loose ball.

Crosthwaite subsequently was able to receive a deferment until the end of the Pointers’ season, in which they were 10-2 in the CPL and with a 41-21, late-season victory over Hoover.

Point Loma’s finish earned a CIF playoff berth.


The military wasn‘t interested in the Southern Section’s postseason or Point Loma’s first-ever appearance.

Crosthwaite headed to his Korean War assignment after the Pointers’ final regular-season game, a 31-30, upset loss in overtime to La Jolla that robbed the Lomans of a co-championship with Hoover.

B team mentor Ed Thomas coached a 43-36 playoff loss to Colton, leaving Point Loma with a 19-7 record.


Hoover, sailing along at 17-1 in February, with a 38-37 win over closest pursuer Point Loma, was rocked by the Pointers, 41-21 but still finished earned its first league title since 1946-47.

The Cardinals outscored Ontario Chaffey, 17-7, in the final quarter to win, 41-31, in the first round of the playoffs and took a 27-16, halftime lead over 26-4 Fillmore in a quarterfinals test at San Diego High.

Hoover’s 23-win rotation usually was comprised of (from left) Fred Forster, Bob Metzler, Harry Harrison, Dick Pomeroy, Ray Woodmansee, Ron Wiebe, Bill Hinchy, and Boice Brooks.





Hoover ace Fred Forster fouled out midway in the third quarter after scoring 12 points.  Fillmore gradually caught the Cardinals at 42 as regulation play ended.

The Flashes outscored the Cardinals, 5-0, in overtime and secured a 47-42 win. Hoover closed with a 23-3 record.


Growing in stature each year, the fourth annual Kiwanis Tournament attracted a record 26 teams, 10 more than in 1950-51.  San Diego High and local Kiwanis clubs co-sponsored the mid-December event.

The larger field was split, with 16 teams in an Unlimited Divisions and 10 in a Limited Division for schools with enrollment of 400 or under.

La Jolla opened a new gymnasium and the Vikings’ new digs were a welcome addition. Other hosts were Point Loma, Hoover, and Kearny, which played at the Linda Vista Community Center.

The trend to midseason tournaments, longer than the one-day “classics”  that evolved with the millennium 50 years later, continued with St. Augustine taking part in the Los Angeles Mt. Carmel event and Point Loma and San Diego in the two-day Beverly Hills card.

Also on the calendar was coach Hal Niedermeyer’s annual Coronado Tournament for Class C and D clubs, plus the Santa Monica event for Class B squads that included Hoover, and a postseason foray at Vista for Southern  Prep League squads.

Point Loma went out early at Beverly Hills, losing to Ventura, 44-41. Julian upset Ramona, 35-32, for the Vista championship.

Coach Chet DeVore and his Metropolitan League champion Chula Vista Spartans (from left): Fred Armer, Lavon Baker, Carl Palmer, Jerry Stallard, Bob Neely, Jim Beasley, Stu Nodever, Dick Steiner.


Class B teams from Chula Vista and San Dieguito forfeited four victories each because of a “clerical error” in adding exponents (height, weight, age).  A number of players became ineligible for their B teams and were “scaled” to varsity.

The teams actually used over-exponent players in five games, but the Chula Vista-San Dieguito game was declared no contest.  The Spartans fell from 10-0 to 6-3 and San Dieguito from 8-2 to 4-6.  Escondido, 8-2, backed into the championship


Helix’ Noel Mickelson was the CPL leader with 150 points, a 12.5 average  for 12 games. Hoover’s Bob Metzler was next with 149 and Helix’ Chuck Lehmkuhl third with 147.

San Diego’s Tom Cofield had 127 points in 11 games and View PostCofield’s 281 overall made for a 12.2 average.


Hoover and Point Loma were part of a playoff doubleheader at San Bernardino Junior College…St. Augustine’s Dougherty Gymnasium opened on Dec. 3, 1951, with a St. Augustine victory of 56-36 over Grossmont…San Diego coach Merrill Douglas was sidelined with the flu, so assistant Duane Maley coached the Hillers at the Beverly Hills tournament…Grossmont and Point Loma postponed a game because it was in conflict with a dinner honoring the Pointers’ football team…Fred Forster’s free throw in overtime pushed Hoover past San Diego, 42-41…Coronado, led by John Hannon and Harry Sykes, split with Chula Vista in the Metro League but the 6-0 Islanders lost 54-52 to 1-6 Escondido, led by Don Portis and Rich Gehring…Ramona, led by Billy and Bobby Bivens, defeated Julian, 35-32, for the Vista championship….

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2017: George (Bud) Milke, Legendary South Bay Coach

Bud Milke was on the bench as a head coach for 500-plus basketball games in his career, more than half at Mar Vista High and Castle Park, and rolled with the deathless prose of Grantland Rice:

“For when the One Great Scorer comes To write against your name, He marks—not that you won or lost—but how you played the game.”

Milke, who passed recently at near 90, was a standout in football and basketball at San Diego State and embarked on a five-decade run as coach at two South Bay high schools and as a coach and administrator at Southwestern College.

Milke retired in 1992 after holding numerous positions at Southwestern, including nine seasons as basketball coach, beginning in 1964-65.

His first coaching position was in 1953-54 at Mar Vista, where Milke’s teams, seldom with a player taller than his 6 feet, 4 inches,  were 148-118 in 10 seasons, including five in which the  Mariners finished second or higher in the Metropolitan League.

Milke moved to Castle Park High in 1963-64, stunning Metro League observers when the first-year Trojans posted a 23-7 record and won the league championship.

Milke’s son, George, Jr., a longtime figure in South Bay education circles, was a baseball star at Mater Dei, pitched at USC, and was named the outstanding player of the 1974 College World Series.

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2017: Tri-City Jumper Takes State Lead

Matthew DeRoos of Tri-City Christian long jumped 24 feet, 4 1/4 inches in the Coastal League finals at Orange Glen and took the state lead in that event.

Scripps Ranch’s Alex Barr was displaced as the state leader in the 1600-meter run.  Barr ran 4:14.51 in an early outdoor meet  and now is ninth inn that event.

Sophomore Karson Lippert logged :21.57 in the 200 at the Dick Wilkins Frosh-Sophomore meet last week at Granite Hills and also is the leader at :47.83 in the 400.

Events in which San Diego Section athletes are among the first 10 in the state are listed accompanied by state leaders:


200 Lippert, La Costa Canyon, :21.57 (8T) Cunningham, Moreno Valley Rancho Verde :20.98
400 Lippert :47.83 (2) Bowens, L.B. Poly :47.34
800 Chinn, Poway 1:53.21 (4) Scales, San Jose Bellarmine 1:50.64
Barr, Scripps Ranch 1:53.88 (8)
1600 Barr 4:14.51 (9) Bolger, San Luis Obispo 4:07.09


Chinn 4:15.27 (10)
Shot Put Hardan, San Pasqual 58-1¾ (8) Wilson, Clovis Buchanan 66-1
Long Jump DeRoos, Tri-City Christian 24-4¼ (1) Enochs, Yucca Valley 23-11 1/2
Olave, Mission Hills 23-6 (10)
Triple Jump Jackson, Eastlake 46-8 (3) Stevenson, Temecula Great Oak 48-6
Mitchell, Point Loma 46-6 ¼ (9)


400 Firsching, Cathedral :55.78 (10) Anderson, Norco :51.99
800 McCarthy, Carlsbad 2:10.25 (3) Brewer, San Ramon California 2:07.90
Robertson, La Jolla 2:11.28 (5)
100 Hurdles Smith, Mission Hills :14.26 (10) Davis, Agoura :13.01
300 Hurdles Scott, Vista :43.79 (9) Davis, Agoura :40.41
High Jump Phillips, Santa Fe Christian 5-6 ½ (7) Herman, Bakersfield Stockdale 5-10
Hickey, Coronado 5-6 (T8)
Long Jump Scott, Gompers 19-1 (T7) Davis, Agoura 21-8 3/4
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2017: Powell Leads Raptors to Playoff Win

Norman Powell has earned a spot in the Toronto Raptors’ rotation and is making his bones on  basketball’s biggest stage.

Powell dunks on Milwaukee Bucks.

The 6-foot, 4-inch guard from Lincoln High scored a career-high 25 points in 34 minutes and shot 8 for 11 from the field to lead the Raptors to a 118-93 win over Milwaukee and put Toronto into a 3-2 playoff series lead over the Milwaukee Bucks last night.

After a superstar career at Lincoln, it took Powell until his senior season before he averaged 16.4 points a game, starred on defense, and blossomed into an all-conference player at UCLA.

Powell’s professional career so far has been similar to his development at UCLA.  Drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 46th pick in the second round of the 2015 NBA draft, Powell soon was traded to Toronto.

He got into 46 games as a rookie but appeared in 76 games in 2016-17, started 18, and averaged 8.4 points and 18 minutes.


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1950-51: Wanted: Triple-A Road Maps

The twists and turns of the season weren’t so much about the drama of last-minute shots and frenetic finishes but of quirky schedules, odd venues, and some World War II-like travel.

Coronado and Chula Vista met in the Metropolitan League’s most important game…at Point Loma!

It was Chula Vista’s home game, but the Spartans did not have a gymnasium.

There were no high school gyms in the South Bay area.  The same could be said for the city.

Most venues had basketball courts, but you could count those with adequate seating on one hand,  San Diego High, Point Loma, Grossmont, and Hoover.


Chula Vista’s “home” court could have been Hoover.  That’s where the Spartans played Escondido, Oceanside, and Sweetwater in league clashes…but it met San Dieguito in the Southern Section playoffs at San Diego.

Chula Vista and Sweetwater played another league game…at San Diego State.

Point Loma lost a “road” game to Chula Vista, in the Pointers’ gym

“Home” was either 10 (Hoover), 8 (San Diego), or 14 (Point Loma) miles from the Spartans’ campus in west Chula Vista.

Hoover was early favorite for CPL title with starters Bob Gregovich, Bob Metzler, Roger Estey, Ray Woodmansee, and Jerry Woods (from left).

Playing at Hoover was, for the Northern schools, almost a throwback to a decade before when there was wartime gasoline rationing to keep automobiles off the road and to conserve rubber.

By traveling to the Cardinals’ East San Diego campus, Escondido shaved 22 miles off what would have been 74 miles both ways to Chula Vista.

Oceanside would have had to travel 92 miles roundtrip but instead hiked 72.

Sweetwater played Mar Vista and Mar Vista played Oceanside, both games in Balboa Park’s Municipal Gym.

Mar Vista’s game in Oceanside would have been 100 miles up and back.  The mileage would have been similar for Sweetwater.

It didn’t generate a “Hoosiers” atmosphere, but the cavernous, multi-court emporium in Balboa Park was convenient.

Within a couple years, there would be new arenas at La Jolla and Sweetwater, easing but not solving the problem. More high schools were on the way.  Helix opened later this year and Lincoln, Mission Bay, and El Cajon Valley were coming soon.

Ranglos’ hook shot spelled trouble for Vikings’ opponents.

The problem wouldn’t be solved until the mid-’sixties, when almost all schools had their own layouts.

For now, Sweetwater and several others were forced to conduct their practice maneuvers under sunny or cloudy skies or not practice at all when winter rains set in.


Ivan Robinson’s County-record, 38-point outburst against Kearny in the final game of the 1943-44 season had withstood some assaults in the ensuing years.

Hoover’s Dick Barnes scored 36 in one game in 1944-45.  San Diego’s Ben Cendali had 37 in 1947-48.

But Robinson’s mark finally fell this season when Fallbrook center Paul Lockridge knocked down 21 baskets and 5 free throws for 47 points in a 90-31 win over Brown Military.

The feat had the aura of “Ripley’s Believe it or Not”.

Coronado’s Mark Davis led Metro League in scoring.

Lockridge’s twin, point guard Frank, backed up his brother with 20 points and dished several assists.


Grossmont and Hoover competed their regular seasons with big wins on the final night of league play.

Coach Ralph Chaplin’s Foothillers clinched second place in the City Prep League with a 46-45 win over La Jolla and Hoover knocked off San Diego, 44-36, in a display befitting the Cardinals’ preseason favoritism.

(The Cardinals were 11-3 in December and averaging 44 points a game, but they were surprised by Grossmont, 48-34, in the CPL opener and flattened out to 6-5, finishing in a tie for third in the league, and 17-8 overall).

The teams pulled a three-hour trip the next day to play in the Beverly Hills Tournament.

Probably spent from the night before, Grossmont bowed to Los Angeles Loyola, 41-36, and Hoover, which led, 43-30, after three quarters, fell to Santa Monica, 48-47.


San Diego and Grossmont began play in the Southern Section playoffs almost two weeks later.

The CIF apparently “optioned” a doubleheader at Point Loma to the San Diego City Schools Association, which sponsored the contests.

Newport Beach Newport Harbor and Anaheim tied for first place in the Sunset League, necessitating a coin flip to determine opponents.

Grossmont defeated Anaheim, 34-31, in the first game and San Diego eliminated Newport Harbor, 46-34, in the nightcap.

Instead of being competitively idle four days, until the following Tuesday, the Hillers and Foothillers were required to travel to Redondo Beach the next evening for the quarterfinals round.

Compton sent Grossmont (17-6) to the sideline, 48-37, and South Pasadena topped San Diego (18-6), 46-39.

Chula Vista (15-8), the defending small schools champion, fought back after trailing, 27-18, at the end of the third quarter but was beaten in the semifinals on a late free throw, 34-33, by Bonita at Pomona.


A football injury sustained on Nov. 10 had dealt a crushing blow to San Diego’s Southern Section playoff hopes and sidelined Charlie Powell for the first 11 games of the basketball season.

Breitbard Athletic Foundation saluted Hoover’s Ray Woodmansee (left) and Sam Smith from champion Inglewood.

The Hillers were 7-4 in the absence of Powell and his 230-pound presence at center but were 11-2 after he returned for the opening of league play Jan. 11.

The big center scored 12 points in a playoff victory over  Newport Harbor and had 19 in his final game, a postseason, 55-42 win over Hoover in the Zane Fentress charity game that attracted a sellout crowd of 1,000 persons in the Hilltop Gym.


Fentress, a 190-pound wrestler for Hoover, was competing in a Southern Section playoff wrestling match against San Diego’s Tom Loman, who weighed more than 250.

Fentress sustained a severe injury and was temporarily paralyzed from the waist down.

Mickelson was blossoming star at Grossmont.

CIF wrestling rules eventually had a weight limit for the heavyweight division and  a super heavyweight class was added.


Another benefit for Fentress was held a week later, with a unique format.

Hoover and Grossmont met in a game that featured only players returning for the 1951-52 season.

Hoover returnees won, 47-29.  The Hoover Alumni defeated the San Diego Alumni, 62-40, in a companion skirmish.

Names to remember:  Hoover’s Bob Metzler, who scored 16 points, and Grossmont’s Noel Mickelson, who had 15.


Inglewood won the 16-team, third annual San Diego Kiwanis tournament, 50-45 over Hoover.  San Diego was consolation champion, 45-38, over Grossmont.

Kearny’s David Miramontes scored 72 points in four games to break Bill McColl’s record of 69 in 1947 that was tied by Grossmont’s Phil Embletlon in 1949.

San Diego High and the Downtown Kiwanis sponsored the event.  Individual teams were supported by their local Kiwanis clubs.

Visiting squads, including El Monte, Inglewood, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica, were housed in barracks at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot.


San Diego’s Percy Gilbert was an all-Southern California first-team selection and La Jolla’s Jim Ranglos made the second team.

Ranglos led CPL scorers with a 15.3 average in 10 league games and Gilbert and Grossmont’s Ray Preston tied for second at 12.2. Mark Davis or Coronado (138) topped

Percy Gilbert was all-Southern California.

Kenny Iles of Escondido (128) in the 10-game Metro scoring race.


The Muni facility did not just host prep games.

The San Diego Park and Recreation Department announced pairings for its 31-team preseason tournament, which promised to keep the building busy.

Former Hoover star Dick Barnes, who passed up the NBA after being drafted in the fifth round by the New York Knicks, was playing for Al Riley Concrete.

Among other entries were Buono Bail Bonds, Clementine McDuff, Crown Carpet, and Mutual Fire.


The City Prep League was 19-1 against the Metropolitan League from the opening game in late November until league play after the New Year…Metro League clubs were 9-27 against all opposition overall in the same span…San Diego set a Compton Invitational single-game point total in a 66-48 win over Norwalk Excelsior but bowed the next day to Los Angeles Cathedral, 41-30…El Centro Central was one point short of a Kiwanis point record in a 74-32 win over San Diego Vocational…Ron Maley, younger brother of San Diego football boss Duane Maley, was coach at Kearny…San Diego played host to Hoover in the CPL finale with a reversed format… the varsity game tipped at 6:30 p.m., followed by the Class B contest, won by San Diego, 39-27…the Caver B’s 9-1 league record equaled that of the varsity…Hoover bowed to Ventura, 67-55, in the Santa Monica B Tournament, while San Diego was eliminated by L.A. Mt. Carmel, 30-27, after defeating Long Beach Poly, 36-28….


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2017: San Diego Thinclads Rate in State

With Arcadia behind them, San Diego Section track and field athletes settle into  three more weeks of dual meets, weekend invitationals, and league trials before Section trials May 20 and finals May 27 at Mt. Carmel, and the state meet in Clovis on June 2-3.

Scripps Ranch’s Alex Barr ran :4:14.51 in the 1600 meters last month in the Mt. Carmel Invitational and holds the state lead. Equally impressive was sophomore Karson Lippert of La Costa Canyon.

Lippert’s :47.83 clocking in the 400 at Arcadia ranks No. 17 all-time in San Diego County and is the best ever for his class. Rashid Shaheed of Mt. Carmel was the San Diego Section leader at :48.47 in 2016.

Leading among the girls is the 2:11.24 800 by La Costa Canyon’s Kiley M cCarthy,  fourth in the state.

San Diego performers in the state top 10, followed by the state leader in those events:


100 Fletcher, Scripps Ranch :11.91 (10T) Reed, Gardena Serra :11.58
800 McCarthy, La Costa Canyon 2:11.24 (4) Brewer, San Ramon California 2:07.90
Roberson, La Jolla 2:11.54 (10)
1600 Brown, La Costa Canyon 4:58.77 (9) Herberg, Capistrano Valley 4:52.06
300 Hurdles Scott, Vista :44.26 (10) Anderson, Norco :40.41
High Jump Phillips,  Santa Fe Christian 5-6 ½ (6) Trupe, Santa Ynez 5-10
Hickey,  Coronado 5-6 (7T) Hamm, Bakersfield Stockdale 5-10
200 Ellis, Mt. Carmel :21.6w (8T) Hampton Yucaipa, :21.20
400 Lippert, La Costa Canyon :47.83 (2) Bowens L.B. Poly, :47.34
800 Barr, Scripps Ranch 1:53.8 (4) Scales San Jose Bellarmine 1:50.64
1600 Barr 4:14.4 (1)
Shot Put Hardan, San Pasqual 58-1 ¾ (6) Wilson, Clovis Buchanan 66-1
Pole Vault Sheldon, Mission Hills 15-7 (8) Curran, Redondo Beach Redondo 17-1
Long Jump Hull-Littleton, Olympian 23-9 ¾ (4) Enochs,  Yucca Valley 23-11 1/2
Olave, Mission Hills 23-6 (7)


Taylor-Stewart, St. Augustine 23-4 ½ (10)
Triple Jump Mitchell, Point Loma 46-5 ¼ (6) Stevenson, Temecula Great Oak 48-6
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1954-55: The Saints Get Some Glory

St. Augustine felt better about itself, assuaging some of the long-standing frustration from thwarted attempts to secure a league affiliation.

The small, independent Catholic entity that opened its doors in 1922 enjoyed an in-your-face season and earned the first playoff berth in school history.

The hard way.

With community honchos in support and shrewd politicking by principal John Aherne, the Saints eventually would gain membership in the City Prep League, but as freelancers they faced more daunting challenges than the snooty public schools that continued to deny them.

Teams in leagues would be eligible for the playoffs as long as they finished first or second in the standings.

The Saints, with no league and little margin for error, were given a finite number by the CIF:  Lose no more than six games and get to play in the extended season.

Coach John Finan’s squad came through with a 17-6 regular-season record, but there were some nervous moments along the way.  A 53-38 loss in January to the San Diego State freshmen could have torpedoed its chances..

Although no official announcement was reported in San Diego newspapers, the CIF apparently didn’t consider the loss to the Frosh an official game, since it was not against a high school team.

Cunningham, guarded by Grossmont’s Lowell Raper, led Saints and area shooters in scoring.

Finan’s freelancers also helped themselves with a 6-1 finish.

John Cunningham, a 6-foot, 4-inch, center who went to play for the University of San Francisco and become baseball coach at the University of San Diego, averaged 19 points a game, led the County with 474 points, and was the main man of the 18-7 season.


St. Augustine was a substantial underdog to Hoover, one of the City League big shots aligned against the Saints, in the opening playoff test, having lost to the Cardinals, 48-34 and 61-43, during the season.

Cunningham and teammates Charlie Smith and Hector Sanchez combined for 42 points and the Saints upset the Cardinals, 46-44, before a standing room crowd of 1,200 at Hoover.

(Perhaps most satisfying was a measure of redemption.  The Saints played Hoover in football amid some fanfare for the first time since 1934 and were destroyed the previous fall, 66-0).

Their breakthrough season ended in the second round on the road, 75-53, to the tall, 22-2 Alhambra Moors, who won the championship with ensuing victories of  55-53 over Baldwin Park, 52-48 over Los Angeles Mt. Carmel, and 46-35 over Burbank Burroughs.


Coronado’s starting lineup averaged 5 feet, 9 inches, with one starter at 6 feet, but coach John Kovac’s speedy Islanders rushed to a 21-4 record and reached the Southern California Southern Group finals for small schools in the lower geographical half of the CIF.

Coronado’s swift Islanders (from left): Ernie Wright, Jon Crawford, Charlie Love, Roger Nix, coach John Kovac, Robin Dean, Herman Wright.

Coronado, enrollment 384 in four grades, dressed nine players on the first day of practice, according to coach John Kovac.

“When we started winning a few more turned out,” said Kovac.  “Now we have 13 (and the ability to scrimmage and simulate game conditions).”

The Islanders, who had some late-reporting football players after the team got to the Southern Group semifinals before a 23-14 loss to Brawley, raced to an 11-1 Avocado League record, losing only at Escondido, 64-63.

Coronado was beaten by future NFL quarterback Billy Kilmer and Azusa Citrus, 63-58, in the championship game at Point Loma High after knocking out San Jacinto, 43-38, Puente, 53-43, and Grossmont, 59-57.

Th Islanders also set a presumed County record for most points in one game.  They defeated Rancho del Campo, 103-33.


San Diego coach Merrill Douglas wouldn’t have been blamed if he didn’t expect a run from his team, which had lost three December games to Northern squads by an average score of 53-35.

But Douglas also was waiting for football players.

Art Powell ,Willie West, Pete Gumina, Eldridge Cooks, Alden Kimbrough, and Edward Heard were late arriving after going to the playoffs with coach Duane Maley’s gridders.

Huntington Beach player scrambles for ball as San Diego’s Bob Rees (left) and Don Leslie move in to contest.

With a full complement the Cavemen swept the City League with a 12-0 record and were 18-4 when they earned a first-round playoff bye.

San Diego opened with a 49-39 win at Riverside Poly and then faced 31-2 Huntington Beach at Hoover.

Only 400 or so fans showed for the Tuesday night game but were treated to a thriller.  The Cavers topped the favored Oilers, 55-53.

Art Powell, who would earn all-Southern California first team honors, scored 44 points in the two victories.

San Diego moved into the semifinal round three nights later at Long Beach City College against 24-6 Burbank Burroughs.

The Cavers led, 47-46, early in the fourth quarter but a flurry that included seven consecutive free throws helped the Indians ease to a 59-50 win.

The Cavers’ two best players, the 6-foot, 2-inch Powell and the 6-5 Bob Rees fouled out, Rees in the first minute of the fourth quarter and Powell a minute later the next night in

the third place contest, a 52-48 loss to Mt. Carmel. The Cavers led for most of the game but were swept on the backboards in the final six minutes by the taller Crusaders.


A total of seven San Diego-area teams gained the playoffs and occupied four of the 16 berths in the Southern Group competition.

Grossmont advanced to its semifinal test with Coronado by defeating Brawley, 48-44, and Ramona, 46-33.

Ramona faced Grossmont after a 48-32 win over Twentynine Palms.

Escondido, without leading scorer Don Willis, was rocked at Calexico, 70-38.

Mar Vista defeated Coachella, 46-43, and Calexico, 63-38, before being eliminated by Citrus, 66-46.


When their teams were tied, 45-45, at the end of overtime, coaches Locke Olson of Grossmont and Don Smith of Lincoln agreed to play the second overtime in sudden death.

Coronado’s Roger Nix (left) and Ernie Wright (25) follow the bouncing ball in Islanders’ battle for championship with Azusa Citrus.

Grossmont’s Don Cole quickly scored a layup and Grossmont walked off with a 47-45 win.  The clubs were deadlocked, 43-43, at the end of regulation play.


The lack of gymnasiums continued to hamstring City League scheduling.

Lincoln and Mission Bay would open their own facilities in 1955-56, but until then there would be odd venue matchups:

Lincoln played San Diego at Hoover.  Hoover played Kearny at Point Loma.  Kearny played Mission Bay at San Diego.


Football star John Adams also was starting forward on 17-7 Hoover basketballers.

–Six Escondido players fouled out and accounted for 30 of the 37 personal fouls assessed the Cougars in a 71-59 loss to Vista, which cashed 41 free throw attempts.

–Hoover, with 6-5 Bill Kupiec and 6-2 John Adams controlling the backboards, was able to survive a putrid field goal percentage,  20 of 75 shots for 26.6%, but led, 26-3, after one quarter and beat Kearny, 54-32.  The Komets were more putrid, 10×52 from the field for 19.2%.

–Chula Vista made 26 of 41 free throws attempts in a 44-30 win over Helix.  The host Highlanders held a 22-18 advantage from the field but were only 8 for 25 from the line.

–Frustration probably was the motivation when Sweetwater’s Allen Redman swapped punches with Grossmont’s Dick Cole.  Grossmont (8-2) sent Sweetwater to its ninth consecutive Metropolitan League loss, 37-28.

–Fallbrook trailed Escondido, 49-14, at the start of the fourth quarter…and went into a stall.  The Warriors did not score in the final eight minutes and lost, 59-14.

–Poor shooting  Point Loma, which finished 3-9 in the City League and 3-16 overall, hit 13 of 17 attempts from the floor for 76% and was 12 for 16 from the free-throw line, including two winning attempts by Frank Rogers, and upset La Jolla, 38-37.

–The score was tied on 8 occasions and the lead was exchanged 25 times as Coronado held on to defeat Grossmont, 59-57, in the semifinals.  On the same night, Mar Vista led Citrus, 25-24, at the half before bowing, 66-46.

Helix’ Gael Barsotti (center) and Rudy Rudzinsky affected novel horizontally striped socks as they pursued Mar Vista’s Dee Pollock.


Many  coaches did not like a new rule, which awarded a second free throw if the first was made, saying the legislation put too much emphasis on  the charity toss, according to Jim Trinkle of The San Diego Union…Brown Military’s 46-39 win over Army-Navy  ended the Warriors’ 22-game, Southern Prep League winning streak…Beverly Hills won the Kiwanis Tournament Unlimited Division, 53-33 over defending two-time titlist San Diego…Newhall Hart, behind future NFL quarterback Joe Kapp, won the Limited division, 50-46, over El Centro Central  after opening with a 104-33 win over Oceanside…the Normans got to the Unlimited final with a 39-37 win over Inglewood, which received a last minute technical foul for calling a sixth timeout..the fine led to a pivotal free throw for the winners…Inglewood Morningside’s John Arrillaga scored 39 points in an 82-52 win over Escondido and broke a Kiwanis record set the night before when the Saints’ John Cunningham scored 34 in a 77-64 win over Arrillaga’s Monarchs…Morningside went on to win one of the two Southern Section small schools championship by defeating Beverly Hills, 64-62, in the Northern Group final…Grossmont topped Chula Vista, 53-43, for the consolation championship in the post-Christmas Chino Tournament…Allen Good, former Hoover athlete, became coach at La Jolla after Don Hankins stepped down because of a health issue…five years before his brother attained similar honors at Mission Bay, La Jolla’s 6-1 center Jack Cravens would graduate with 8 varsity letters….

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2016-17: Saints Rise to No. 6 in Final Ratings

Another good season of San Diego Section basketball is in the books.

St. Augustine finished sixth in the final, expanded Cal-Hi Sports listing of the top 40 teams in the state and the Mission Hills girls were seventh in rankings of the top 35.

The Saints (28-5) were a preseason No. 21 in the newsletter’s top 25  but rolled through local games and showed continued improvement.

An example of the Saints’ rise came in the three losses to No. 2 Mater Dei.  Coach Mike Haupt’s team lost by 23, 12, and finally by 6  to the Monarchs in the Southern California semifinals.

Torrey Pines (28-5) rose to 13th after not being in the preseason top 25.  Preseason-ignored Vista (28-5) finished 24th  and Foothills Christian (24-7)  26th after starting No. 16.

Foothills was third in Cal-Hi’s final rankings for the 2015-16 season, with Cathedral 14th, and St. Augustine 23rd.

St. Augustine was 23rd, Torrey Pines 24th, and Foothills Christian 36th in 2013-14.

Helix, the winningest San Diego team this season with a 31-6 record and a state finalist in Division IV, was not in Cal-Hi’s  top 40.

Schedules matter.  The Highlanders annually do not play the level of opponents of the section’s big three.


The girls’ team at Mission Hills repeated its third place rating of a year ago.

The Bishop’s (30-4), with state career scoring leader Destiny Littleton,  was 12th.

La Jolla Country (18-12) was ranked 26th, “the best 12-loss team in the state,” according to Cal-Hi Sports, which respects the schedules and teams annually turned out each season by coach Terry Bamford.


The spring thinclad season officially commands center stage this week at the Arcadia Invitational, where dozens of San Diego Section runners, throwers, jumpers and vaulters will compete in a variety of classes.

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