Prep Notebook : Crespi is Longing for Title

Paul Muff could be excused for saying, "Oh no, not again," when the pairings for the Southern Section basketball playoffs were announced Sunday.

Crespi High will play host to Jordan on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the opening round of the 5-A playoffs. The Celts won the Del Rey League championship, while the Panthers of Jordan finished third in the Moore League.

Crespi, with a 15-7 overall record, is ranked ninth in the 5-A. Jordan is 11-12 overall. A Crespi romp, right?

The Celts are favorites. But Jordan is from Long Beach. Over the years, Long Beach has translated into Long Nights for the Celts.

In 1975, Crespi advanced to the semifinals, only to lose to a Reggie Theus-led Inglewood team, 51-43. The game was played at the Long Beach Arena.

Five years later, Crespi was done in by Long Beach Poly, 52-41, in the quarterfinals. That game took place at Cal State Long Beach.

The following year, 1981, Long Beach Poly was again the Celts' nemesis. The location was different--Pierce College--but the result was the same. The Jackrabbits won, 65-55, in the second round.

Long Beach Poly wasn't around to finish Crespi's season in 1982. That honor went to St. Anthony, a 59-57 overtime winner over the Celts in the quarterfinals. The game was at Long Beach City College. Three guesses which city St. Anthony is located in.

The Jackrabbits won the state title last season and along the way defeated Crespi twice. The teams met earlier this season and Crespi again came away a loser.

"We've had our problems with Long Beach schools," Muff said with a laugh. "Maybe this year we'll be lucky with a Long Beach school."

Lifetime, Crespi is 0-5 against Long Beach Poly, 0-1 against Long Beach Jordan and 2-3 against St. Anthony.

"The Long Beach area probably has as good a group of basketball players as you'll find in the country," Muff said. "They have for years."

Long Beach Poly, seeded third, opens playoff action against Servite. St. Anthony meets Alemany.

Crespi will only play Long Beach Poly or St. Anthony if the teams reach the Southern Section finals.

That game's location? The Long Beach Arena.

Going into tonight's quarterfinal game with Banning, Cleveland basketball Coach Greg Herrick has a record of 98-41 at the school. If Herrick gets victory No. 100 this season, it will put the Cavaliers, seeded second, into the City 4-A championship game.

Cleveland would most likely meet Crenshaw, the defending City champion, in the final. Crenshaw (18-0) is the top-seeded team in the City, The Times' No. 1 team in the City, and USA Today's No. 2 team in the nation.

"We want the No. 1 and No. 2 teams," Herrick said. "That's what we hope will happen. We think we can play with them. I'm not impressed with (Crenshaw's) No. 2 (ranking) in the nation."

Add Cleveland: Said Locke Coach Bill Sweatt, whose team played both Cleveland and Banning: "Cleveland plays better basketball, team-wise. But Banning has better personnel."

A reporter last Wednesday phoned Burbank High School in an attempt to reach Russ Keith, the basketball coach. Said the person who answered: "He's at the bottom of the pool right now, trying to relieve some frustration."

That was before the Bulldogs lost to Hart, 50-47, that night. Burbank--and apparently Keith--regrouped in time to defeat Burroughs, 60-45, Friday and wrap up the Foothill League championship.

The Bulldogs, 9-1 in league and 18-4 overall, play host to Antelope Valley in the first round of the Southern Section 3-A playoffs Friday.

Maury Neville, the basketball coach at L.A. Baptist, had this to say about Todd Bowser, the 6-8, 270-pound center at Montclair Prep: "He's improved each year. He's a little smarter on the floor than he used to be, particularly at the defensive end. He gets up and down the floor better than he used to. He works hard, he wins graciously and he loses graciously, and I appreciate that.

"He needs to play basketball more. And it would be in his best interest to drop some weight if he's going to play college ball--probably 30 pounds, easily, and maybe 50 to get up and down the floor at an even quicker pace than he does now."

Notes:

Kennedy High lineman Bill Schultz signed a letter of intent to play football at the University of Washington. The 6-4, 240-pound Schultz was a starter at offensive and defensive tackle for the Golden Cougars, earning all-Valley 4-A League and all-City honors. . . .

Erin Milsap of Royal captured the Southern Section 4-A Division wrestling championship at 101 pounds this past weekend. Milsap was one of 208 competitors to qualify for the Southern Section's Masters Meet scheduled for Saturday at Westminster High School.

The meet Saturday will qualify five entries per weight class for the State Finals Tournament. That will be held March 1 and 2 at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. Other 4-A Division champions included Newbury Park's Keith Harvey (122 pounds) and Simi Valley's Frank Blessing (194 pounds). . . .

Burbank's boys' soccer team opens the playoffs Friday against Montebello as the second-seeded team in the Southern Section's 3-A Division. In the 1-A Division, Agoura is ranked No. 2, while L.A. Baptist is No. 3. Both teams begin playoff action Friday.

In the girls' 3-A Division, Simi Valley, sporting a 20-0-2 record, has a bye in the first round. Moorpark, which plays Agoura in the first round Friday, is the No. 2 team in the 2-A.

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