Schurr High School Coach Tom Thompson knew Kevin Kurz was good when the season started. Last year, as a junior, Kurz averaged 17 points a game and made The Times' All-Southeast team.
"But I didn't think it would come to the point where he couldn't be stopped," said Thompson.
It came to that point.
Kurz, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound senior forward, led the Southeast/Long Beach area in scoring this year with a 28-point average. He scored 53 in a double-overtime game against El Dorado, and that shocked Thompson too.
"I didn't think it could be done," Thompson said.
A natural shooter from inside and outside who has a very quick first step, Kurz, who also had 10.5 rebounds a game, was part of a two-man show that led Schurr to a 19-7 record, second place in the Foothill League and a berth in the playoffs.
The other star was senior guard Todd Inatomi, a 5-11, 165-pounder who led the area in assists with nine a game.
"Without Todd, Kevin wouldn't have had the ball," Thompson said.
Inatomi could score too. He averaged 17 points. He also had 9.5 steals a game and was the team's second-leading rebounder.
Kurz and Inatomi amassed their statistics despite exotic defenses that pretty much ignored the other three Schurr players, all of whom were inexperienced. A favorite was a three-man zone with two players playing man-to-man on Kurz and Inatomi.
Kurz and Inatomi are two of 10 high school basketball players selected to The Times' All-Southeast All-Star team, one of 10 from Times' circulation areas that will be honored at The Times' annual prep basketball awards ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Harry Chandler Auditorium of the Times Mirror Building in downtown Los Angeles.
Player of the year and coach of the year will be announced during the ceremony. USC Coach Stan Morrison is scheduled to be the guest speaker.
The selections were made by a vote of coaches and sportswriters.
The other members of the All-Southeast team:
Rich Antee, Pius X--Antee came back from a knee injury that kept him from playing for more than a year. A 6-9 senior center who grew five inches the last year and a half, he averaged 21 points and 12 rebounds a game and was the Angelus League's Offensive Player of the Year. He shot 63% from the field, preferring shots from his high post position.
He had his best game--28 points and 8 assists--against Servite. He scored 25 or more points seven times.
"He has a tremendous attitude and is going to be a heck of a player," Pius X Coach Mike Murphy said of Antee, who has a full scholarship to the University of Portland.
Keith Billingslea, South Gate--A junior guard, Billingslea averaged 23.8 points a game, shot 54% from the floor and rarely missed more than three shots in a row.
Because he was the team's only threat, he was constantly harassed by more than one of the other team's players. "Late in the season we had to get him a larger shirt because he had so many people in it," joked Coach Paul Hackett.
A product of South Gate High's extensive weight program, Billingslea was a bull at 6 foot 2 and 208 pounds. "He looks like a middle linebacker, but he's flexible," Hackett said.
Billingslea, who has been a starter since he was a freshman, has a 3.5 grade point average.
Richard Garcia, Bell Gardens--A 5-10, 155-pound senior point guard, Garcia led the Lancers in a late-season surge to the playoffs. He averaged 15 points as basically an outside shooter and also had 4 rebounds and 3 assists a game.
"We wouldn't have finished second (in the Whitmont League) without him," said Coach Charlie LaCommare, who depended on Garcia to break the other team's press.
Kevin Holland, Cerritos--"He had one bad game in 25. That's remarkable for a junior to be so consistent," said Cerritos Coach Ian DesBorough of Holland, a 6-7, 198-pound forward.
Playing 30 minutes a game, Holland led the Dons in almost every category. He averaged 14 points a game and 8.4 rebounds. His extremely long arms enabled him to excel on defense too. He played the middle on the Dons' full-court press and came up with three steals a game.
"He'll be a natural forward in college," said DesBorough. "That's why I don't want him to play center."
Andy Olivarez, Whittier--"He made himself into a player; he's a relentless worker," Whittier Coach Steve Beason said of Olivarez, the Whitmont League's Most Valuable Player. "As a sophomore he was a skinny, puny kid."
But this season, as a 6-1, 165-pound senior guard, Olivarez averaged 23.1 points, shooting 53% from the field and 81% from the foul line. He also had 9.7 rebounds and 3 assists a game.
Olivarez developed a jump shot during the off-season to complement his skillful moves to the basket. He probably will play at a junior college next season.
John Scott, St. Paul--Coach Mike Dinneen moved Scott from shooting guard to point guard this season, but he scored better than last year. A 6-2, 175-pounder, Scott led the Swordsmen to a third-place Angelus League finish by scoring 18 points a game. He also averaged 6.7 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.9 steals.
"He did everything we wanted of him," Dinneen said.
Only a junior, Scott has been on the varsity for three years. He is also the quarterback on the St. Paul football team and has a 3.3 grade point average.
Robert Stone, La Serna--A junior who performed in the clutch, Stone won three games with late shots.
"When we had to have points we went right to him," said La Serna Coach John Fien. "He's a hard-nosed player who never gives up and never relies on his laurels."
A good outside shooter who can drive too, Stone averaged 19.8 points and 3 assists. He also pulled down 8 rebounds a game and had 12 defensive rebounds in one contest. He scored 31 points against Pioneer.
Shawn Stroud, Downey--Stroud, a 5-10, 155-pound senior guard, is a natural playmaker who was forced this season to be a scorer. But he still managed 6 assists a game to go with a 13.2-point scoring average. He also had three steals a game.
"He's one of the smartest players I've ever coached," said Downey Coach Jack Single. "And you couldn't ask for a more dedicated kid. He never missed a practice, and a lot of times he was sick."
Stroud will play at Point Loma College in San Diego next season. "I think he will get better as he plays with better players," Single said.
Southeast All-Star Prep Basketball Team
Scoring Name, school Year Height Weight Average Rich Antee, Pius X Senior 6-9 210 21.0 Keith Billingslea, South Gate Junior 6-2 208 23.8 Richard Garcia, Bell Gardens Senior 5-10 155 15.0 Kevin Holland, Cerritos Junior 6-7 198 14.1 Todd Inatomi, Schurr Senior 5-11 165 17.0 Kevin Kurz, Schurr Senior 6-4 200 28.0 Andy Olivarez, Whittier Senior 6-1 165 23.1 John Scott, St. Paul Junior 6-2 175 18.0 Robert Stone, La Serna Junior 6-3 185 19.8 Shawn Stroud, Downey Senior 5-10 155 13.2