From all standpoints, it has been a memorable year for the girls basketball team at Muir High School in Pasadena.
The Mustangs won the Pacific League title, finished second in the CIF Southern Section 4-A Division--their best result since 1986--and reached the semifinals of the state Division II regional playoffs.
Not to mention the honors that are starting to mount for the Mustangs off the court. Muir, which finished with a 24-5 record, is the only team to place two players on the Los Angeles Times All-San Gabriel Valley girls high school all-star basketball team.
The Mustangs, a perennial valley power, are represented by center Lisa Salsman (6-2) and forward Karin Banks (5-10).
Other team members are forward Rachel Acuff (5-7) of Temple City, forward Jennifer Allen (5-9) of St. Lucy’s, center Ingrid Dixson (6-2) of West Covina, guard Sachi Ezaki (5-3) of Covina, guard Betty Lee (5-2) of Keppel, center Stacey Oughton (6-2) of Bishop Amat, forward Susan Peters (5-11) of Los Altos and guard Elizabeth Sirchia (5-6) of Diamond Bar.
Banks and Dixson are juniors. The only repeater from last year is Peters.
Acuff was described by one opposing coach as “the whole team” and, while that may be a bit of an overstatement, she meant a lot to the fortunes of Temple City.
In leading the Rams to second place in the Rio Hondo League and the second round of the 4-A Division playoffs, Acuff averaged 20.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, nine assists and four steals to earn most valuable player honors in the league.
It was a successful season for St. Lucy’s, which finished with a 19-9 record and advanced to the 3-A quarterfinals before losing to eventual champion Brea-Olinda, and the team was led by all-around play from Allen.
An all-league first-team selection in the Baseline League, Allen averaged 18.6 points and 10.6 rebounds, leading the Regents in both departments. Among colleges recruiting her are Loyola Marymount and La Verne.
Banks may have been overshadowed by Salsman on the Mustangs. She averaged 18.7 points and 6.2 rebounds to place second on the Mustangs in both categories.
A first-team All-Pacific League selection, Banks has attracted recruiters from Cal State Fullerton, Oregon State and Pacific.
Another junior who has attracted recruiters is Dixson, a strong inside player who paced West Covina with 17.5 points and 11.3 rebounds a game.
Dixson, who carried the Bulldogs into the 5-A quarterfinals, has been a two-time All-Sierra League first-team selection and was named most valuable player of the La Puente Tournament. She has been recruited by UC Irvine, San Jose State and St. Mary’s.
At 5-3, Ezaki was among the shortest players on the court. But she rarely came up short statistically for Covina. She averaged 15.3 points, 8.6 assists and 6.3 rebounds as the Colts advanced to the 3-A quarterfinals.
She also earned Valle Vista League most valuable player honors and was selected all-league for the third year in a row. Also an excellent student with a 3.9 grade-point average, Ezaki expects to attend Claremont McKenna.
In a similar manner, the 5-2 Lee was the biggest force at Keppel for three years. An outstanding floor leader, she averaged 20.7 points and 7.3 assists and also led the Aztecs in steals last season.
That earned her the most valuable player award in the Mission Valley League for the second consecutive season. She is a three-time all-league selection. She said she is leaning toward attending Azusa Pacific.
Bishop Amat has not been known for its girls basketball teams, but the Lancers made dramatic improvement from 4-16 two years ago to 16-8 this season, and the development of Oughton was a major reason.
As a senior, Oughton averaged 20.5 points and 12.6 rebounds and was selected to the All-Angelus League first team. Considering a promising Division I prospect, she has signed a national letter of intent to attend Cal State Fullerton.
More than one opposing coach called Peters the best player in the valley, and there certainly is evidence to support the statement. As a senior, she averaged about 23 points and 10 rebounds to carry Los Altos to a 26-2 record and the 4-A quarterfinals after the team reached the 3-A finals the year before.
An excellent shooter who plays well underneath and away from the basket, she was named the most valuable player of the Sierra League the last two years. As a junior she was The Times’ San Gabriel Valley section player of the year and CIF 3-A player of the year.
One of the top all-around athletes in the valley, Peters was also an All-CIF selection as a setter in volleyball and has signed a letter of intent to attend USC on a volleyball scholarship.
When it comes to dominant inside players, no one made more impact this season than Salsman. The latest in a long line of outstanding front-line players for the Mustangs, Salsman was the leading rebounder in the valley at 18.5 a game and was among the scoring leaders with a 20.7 average.
So it is not surprising that she was selected most valuable player of the Pacific League. Salsman has signed a letter of intent with Arizona State.
Sirchia, nicknamed “Bits” because of her size when she was younger, ranks among the top outside shooters in the valley with 54 three-point baskets as a senior.
She was more than simply a strong shooter, though. Sirchia averaged seven rebounds and five assists in addition to 17 points and was a first-team selection in the Sierra League.
Players receiving honorable mention are Natalie Kramer of San Dimas, Tristin Alfred of Walnut, Rose Jong of Muir, Judy Gilliam of Glendora, Grace Tellez of Sierra Vista, DeOndra Naulls of Pomona, Lisa Sloan and Chris Mendoza of West Covina, Teresa Tyler of Diamond Bar, Jonna Steffens of Los Altos, Debbie Macciola of Maranatha, Kadra Oliver of Marshall Fundamental, Amy Schroeder of Western Christian and Kristin Triepke of St. Lucy’s.
1989 ALL-STARS The all-star boys and girls teams, each consisting of 10 members, their coaches and parents will be guests of The Times at 9 a.m. Sunday, April 2, at the annual Times High School Basketball Awards Brunch where all-stars teams from 12 circulation areas will be honored at the Anaheim Hilton. The featured speaker will be George Yardley, a former All-American at Stanford University, who went on to become the first player ever to score more than 2,000 points in an NBA season. The players and the coaches of the year from each area will be announced.
The teams were chosen on the basis of a poll of area coaches, who are asked to fill out ballots nominating their own players and opponents, plus the observations of college scouts and sportswriters. Each player will recieve the traditional Times golden basketball plaque and award certificate.
GIRLS PREP TEAM
Name: Rachel Acuff School: Temple City Year: Senior Height: 5-7 Average: 20.5 Name: Jennifer Allen School: St. Lucy’s Year: Senior Height: 5-9 Average: 18.6 Name: Karin Banks School: Muir Year: Junior Height: 5-10 Average: 18.7 Name: Ingrid Dixson School: West Covina Year: Junior Height: 6-2 Average: 17.5 Name: Sachi Ezaki School: Covina Year: Senior Height: 5-3 Average: 15.3 Name: Betty Lee School: Keppel Year: Senior Height: 5-2 Average: 20.7 Name: Stacey Oughton School: Bishop Amat Year: Senior Height: 6-2 Average: 20.5 Name: Susan Peters School: Los Altos Year: Senior Height: 5-11 Average: 23.0 Name: Lisa Salsman School: Muir Year: Senior Height: 6-2 Average: 20.7 Name: Elizabeth Sirchia School: Diamond Bar Year: Senior Height: 5-6 Average: 17.0