Notebook / Ray Ripton : Champ Fairfax to Show Off Talented Cage Team Against Lion Stars of Past


City basketball champions past and present will play each other in the annual Fairfax High School-alumni game at 7 p.m. Nov. 21 at the school gymnasium. Admission (at the door only) is $2, and proceeds go to the school basketball program.

Alumni players include guard Leonard Johnson, the 3-A City player of the year for the Lions’ 1978 city champions, guard Gary Gatewood and center Darrell Haley, who played with Johnson and starred on the 1979 city champions.

Johnson played for Utah State and graduated from UC Irvine, Gatewood played for Oregon and Haley for Cal. Other alums taking part include Curtis Sumlin, Rico Barnett, Chris McCoy and Mark Klein, who played for last year’s 3-A city titlists.


Good as the alumni are, they will have their hands full with this year’s Lions, led by 6-8 Sean Higgins, regarded by many as one of the nation’s top juniors. The situation is reminiscent of when UCLA had a freshman named Lew Alcindor, and he and other members of the freshman team beat the Bruin varsity. Alcindor went on to become NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Higgins, versatile enough to play any position, will have a strong supporting cast including 6-6 junior forward J. D. Green, a transfer from Santa Monica High; 6-6 sophomore forward-center Chris Mills; 5-11 senior guard Peter Gerber, the first guard off the bench last year; 6-2 junior guard Dave Henderson and Edwin McKinney, a 6-8 senior center who was ineligible last year.

Fairfax Coach Harvey Kitani isn’t promising another city title. He said that his team is young and untested but that the Lions could repeat if this year’s players “work hard and improve.”

The eighth annual Turkey Climb, a mile-long bicycle race up the 20% grade of Mountaingate Drive in the Brentwood-Bel-Air area, started out as something of a turkey. But its prestige and its prizes are climbing.

It began in Rancho Cucamonga, and the first prize was a frozen bird that thawed out in race organizer Joe Kossack’s car and was ripe for roasting, maybe overripe, when it was presented to the winner. Other bikers received turkey parts.

AlpWater is sponsoring this year’s event, and the purse (“mostly cash,” says a release) is $3,000. Competitors include three-time Olympic cyclist John Howard and Marianne Berglund of Sweden, 1983 world road racing champion.


In an item in this column last week about Palisades High School football, it was incorrectly reported that quarterback Mark Thau was completing about a third of his passes and had thrown 10 interceptions. The correct figures at that time, as verified by Palisades Coach Jack Epstein, were that Thau was completing more than half his passes and had thrown but five interceptions. The Times regrets the error.