12-0 Tartans--The Good Get Better : 6-7 Tracy Murray Leading Glendora to Another Title

Times Staff Writer

All things considered, it is not exactly surprising that the Glendora High boys' basketball team is having another winning season.

After all, the Tartans had a 19-8 record and won the Baseline League title last year and they happen to have one of the premier players in the San Gabriel Valley in 6-7 forward Tracy Murray.

But even the Tartans are surprised at just how much they have been winning this year. Glendora, ranked No. 3 in the CIF Southern Section 4-A Division and No. 15 in The Times' Southern Section poll, is off to its best start ever at 12-0. That leaves the Tartans as one of only three teams, along with Ventura and Banning, in the 476-school Southern Section that is undefeated.

The Tartans have built their undefeated record by winning three straight tournaments in December. They won at Riverside, Glendora and Chino. Among their wins was a 75-65 victory over perennial 4-A Division power Muir in the Chino Tournament final.

Now, that's surprising.

"We're a little surprised that we've started off this well," Murray said. "We felt we could compete with most teams. The shock was when we beat Muir. I think that shows that we can play with the best teams."

No wonder Coach Mike LeDuc confidently said before the start of the season: "I think this could and should be the best (team) I've had in nine years of coaching varsity."

LeDuc, in his second year at Glendora after coaching league rival Damien for seven seasons, has reasons for his optimism.

"Last year was our first year at Glendora and this year we've got a year and a half under our belt, so they're more familiar with my system," he said. "Plus the fact that Tracy and Kurt (Bonds) are so much better than last year.

"It's confidence and everyone's more together this year," Murray added. "Everybody wants to win and we're playing with a lot of desire."

Perhaps the development of Murray and Bonds has played the biggest part in Glendora's success.

Murray, a junior who has been the team's offensive leader, didn't exactly have a bad sophomore season when he averaged 24 points and 10 rebounds and was named the league's most valuable player.

As good as he was last year, Murray has looked even better this season. A strong player underneath and away from the basket, he is averaging 32 points and 12 rebounds and has made 56% of his three-point shots. Murray said he had surgery to remove pins from his left hip last April. The pins had been implanted because of problems he experienced from rapid growth.

"He has worked very, very hard and having the pins removed from his hip has helped tremendously," LeDuc said. "Its helped him get up and down the court so much better.

A healthy Murray has meant trouble for Glendora's opponents.

"Just having Tracy on the team helps our other players," LeDuc said. "I think his ability to score from anywhere on the court makes him so valuable. There are a lot of players who can score but he can score from anywhere. I don't let him shoot 27 or 28-footers but he could hit them."

Murray is unquestionably Glendora's best offensive player but LeDuc says the Tartans are not a one-man team.

"That seems to be the big question with people outside of the team," LeDuc said. "Obviously he's our best player but there are a lot of other people contributing."

Two others who have played a big role in the Tartan success are Bonds, a 6-1 senior point guard who averages 16 points and 9 assists and has made 55% of his three-point field goal attempts, and off guard Matt Hansen, a 6-1 senior who averages 9.5 points and also is an excellent three-point shooter.

With their outside shooting ability, the timing could not be better for addition of the three-pointer by the Southern Section this season.

"Its brought a new dimension to the game," Murray says.

"I think it has helped us but I don't think our record would be any different if we didn't have the three-point line," LeDuc said. "It has definitely made our opponents more aware of our outside game."

LeDuc said the team has also benefitted from having good depth, which has enabled the Tartans to run and press more effectively.

"We have played as many as 11 guys in quality time in our non-league season," he said. "It has made things pretty nice. It gives me flexibility in terms of who we can put out there."

The coach said the fact that the team won the league title at the varsity and junior varsity level last year has also helped to instill confidence.

Is it enough for the Tartans to stay undefeated through their difficult Baseline League schedule?

"Without sounding overconfident I think if we play our best game 14 times we can stay undefeated," LeDuc said. "But if we don't play our best game we certainly can be defeated. We're excited about how we've started but we realize we have a lot left to accomplish."

Maybe so, but you could not tell from Glendora's record.

Valley's Top 10

Boys' Prep Teams

Selected by Times Sportswriters

Rank, School, League Record 1 Bishop Amat (Angelus) 15-1

2 Glendora (Baseline) 12-0

3 Diamond Bar (Sierra) 11-3

4 Muir (Pacific) 7-6

5 Nogales (Sierra) 12-3

6 Duarte (Mission Valley) 13-1

7 Wilson (Sierra) 10-4

8 Azusa (Montview) 7-2

9 Blair (Rio Hondo) 7-5

10 Pasadena (Pacific) 7-5

*Records through games of Jan.4

Valley's Top 10

Girls' Prep Teams

Selected by Times Sportswriters

Rank, School,League Record* 1 Muir (Pacific) 7-4

2 Pasadena (Pacific) 10-4

3 Edgewood (Valle Vista) 9-0

4 Rowland (Sierra) 5-1

5 Los Altos (Sierra) 6-2

6 St. Lucy's (Baseline) 5-2

7 West Covina (Valle Vista) 5-2

8 Temple City (Rio Hondo) 7-3

9 Covina (Valle Vista) 7-2

10 El Monte (Mission Valley) 9-1

*Records through games of Jan.4

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World