Nine of the 10 players selected to The Times All-Star Basketball Team entered their final high school seasons shouldering various expectations. Three seniors, in particular, had tough acts to follow: their own.
Although they could have stumbled, they raised their performances another notch.
All-star repeaters Harold Miner of Inglewood, John Hardy of Rolling Hills and Shawn Foster of El Segundo improved upon excellent junior seasons, as did St. Bernard’s Ed Stokes, who made the jump from an honorable mention pick in 1988 to one of the South Bay’s most dominant players.
But the area wasn’t without fresh faces. Torrance guard Rick Robison, the only junior on the all-star squad, joined the elite ranks with a season that was as impressive as unexpected.
Miner, Hardy, Foster, Stokes and Robison represent the cream of South Bay prep basketball talent: players who averaged 25 points or better and guided their teams to winning records and playoff berths.
Moreover, all of the all-stars played for teams that won at least one playoff game. Rounding out the squad are Carson’s Ray Bennett and Vincent Washington, Mike Houck of Redondo, Eddie Scott of Morningside and Mark Tesar of Rolling Hills.
Front-court players dominate the all-star team for the second consecutive year. There are two centers (Hardy and Stokes), five forwards (Miner, Foster, Washington, Houck and Scott) and three guards (Robison, Bennett and Tesar).
Six were selected either most valuable or most outstanding player in their leagues.
Miner, last year’s South Bay Player of the Year, followed a dynamic junior season with an even more impressive senior campaign. The 6-5 senior led the area in scoring with a 29-point average, many baskets coming on spectacular dunks. He also contributed 10.5 rebounds, four assists and three steals per game for Inglewood (16-9).
Miner led the Sentinels to a second-place finish in the Bay League and helped them reach the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section 4-AA playoffs with game highs of 35 and 28 points.
The USC-bound swingman said he tried to become more of a team player this year. But when the game was on the line, Inglewood almost always got the ball into Miner’s hands. He had a high game of 48 points against Beverly Hills and was named the Bay League’s co-Most Outstanding Player with Robison.
While not as physically talented as Miner, Rolling Hills’ Hardy capped an excellent career by beating out his rival for the Bay League’s Most Valuable Player award. In Hardy’s two years as a starter, the Titans were 45-12.
The 6-4 senior, forced to play center because of his team’s lack of height, led Rolling Hills in scoring (27.7 points per game), rebounding (11.4) and steals.
“Without Hardy,” said Beverly Hills Coach Jack Dyck, “Rolling Hills was very beatable.”
With Hardy, the Titans won their third straight Bay League title, finished with a 24-5 record, reached the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section 3-A playoffs and won the Pacific Shores Tournament title, of which Hardy was MVP.
St. Bernard’s Stokes bounced back from an injury-plagued junior season to blossom into one of the Southland’s most dominant big men. The 6-11 senior led the Vikings with 25 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots a game on his way to being named the Camino Real League MVP. His rebound and blocked-shot totals were the best in the South Bay.
Criticized in the past for playing soft underneath and drifting outside for jump shots, Stokes improved his inside play considerably. He shot 76% from the floor and 73% from the free-throw line, leading St. Bernard to the Camino Real title and a 23-6 record. He was MVP of the Beverly Hills Tournament.
Stokes will play college ball for Arizona, the No. 1-ranked team in the nation.
Foster, whose volatile temper had been a problem, channeled his emotions into an exceptional senior season for El Segundo. The 6-5 forward grew in all areas of the game, averaging 25.5 points, 7.6 rebounds and 5.3 assists for the 15-11 Eagles.
Foster’s maturity and improved team play were instrumental in El Segundo challenging for the Santa Fe League title and excelling in the playoffs. The Eagles finished third in the league and advanced to the CIF Southern Section 2-AA semifinals after upsetting top-seeded Cabrillo of Lompoc, 73-70, in the quarterfinals.
“A man among boys,” is how one coach described Foster, who was named MVP of the Santa Fe League.
At first glance, Torrance’s Robison is the last person one would suspect of being a basketball star. The 6-foot, 145-pound guard resembles a young Ricky Nelson with his crew cut and baby face.
But he proved that appearances can be deceiving. Robison was the South Bay’s most productive outside shooter, sinking an area-high 94 three-point shots, including nine in the Tartars’ 86-74 loss to eventual champion San Bernardino in the CIF Southern Section 4-AA quarterfinals.
Robison averaged 28.6 points, second only to Miner in the South Bay, and was even better in the playoffs by averaging 32.7 points in three games. He led surprising Torrance, picked by the coaches to finish last, to a third-place finish in the Bay League and a 16-11 record. He was MVP of the Torrance Tournament.
Washington and Bennett weathered a stormy season for Carson, which overcame adversity to win the Pacific League championship and throw a scare into Manual Arts before falling to the top-seeded Toilers, 50-44, in the semifinals of the L.A. City 4-A playoffs.
Washington, a 6-5 senior, was the Colts’ Mr. Inside. He played most of the year at forward but moved to center late in the season after starter Eric Bender was declared academically ineligible. He excelled at both positions, averaging a team-high 17 points and 8.3 rebounds. He was named the Pacific League MVP.
Bennett, a 6-foot senior, was Carson’s Mr. Outside. He averaged 16.5 points and carried the Colts early in the season when the team was without three starters who came out late from football. His long-range shooting was critical to Carson finishing with a 16-8 record.
Houck was an all-around performer for Redondo. The 6-4 senior led the Sea Hawks with a 19.4 scoring average and ranked second in rebounds (9.4) and assists (3.9). A three-year starter, Houck was twice a first-team all-league selection. He guided Redondo (18-9) to a second-place finish in the Ocean League and to the second round of the CIF Southern Section 4-A playoffs.
Scott, a 6-7 senior, was the leader of balanced Morningside. He averaged a team-high 14.7 points and guided the Monarchs (25-6) to the Ocean League championship, the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section 3-A playoffs and the final of the Southern California Division III Regionals. Scott, cousin of Laker guard Byron Scott, was named Ocean League MVP.
Tesar, a 6-2 senior point guard, was the glue that held Bay League champion Rolling Hills together. The left-hander averaged 15.4 points, sinking 65 of 142 three-point shots (46%), and led the Titans in assists with five per game. He was named to the All-Bay League first team for the second consecutive year.
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. BOYS PREP TEAM Name: Ray Bennett School: Carson Year: Senior Height: 6-0 Average: 16.5 Name: Shawn Foster School: El Segundo Year: Senior Height: 6-4 Average: 25.5 Name: John Hardy School: Rolling Hills Year: Senior Height: 6-4 Average: 27.7 Name: Mike Houck School: Redondo Year: Senior Height: 6-4 Average: 19.4 Name: Harold Miner School: Inglewood Year: Senior Height: 6-5 Average: 29.0 Name: Rick Robison School: Torrance Year: Junior Height: 6-0 Average: 28.6 Name: Eddie Scott School: Morningside Year: Senior Height: 6-7 Average: 14.7 Name: Ed Stokes School: St Bernard Year: Senior Height: 6-11 Average: 25.0 Name: Mark Tesar School: Rolling Hills Year: Senior Height: 6-2 Average: 15.4 Name: Vincent Washington School: Carson Year: Senior Height: 6-5 Average: 17.0 SECOND TEAM BOYS
Name School Height Year Average Eric Carpenter Serra 6-3 12 21.7 Steve Clover Rolling Hills 6-4 11 18.0 David Dinnel Redondo 6-3 12 16.8 Kenny Jones Morningside 6-3 12 10.2 Scott Klein Miraleste 6-5 12 17.8 Darryl McMillan Gardena 6-0 12 18.0 Marc Raveling St. Bernard 6-1 12 15.0 Richard Negrete Mary Star 5-9 12 19.0 Chris Vance Morningside 6-7 12 10.5 MacArthur Wells Hawthorne 6-3 12 18.0