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Southwest Tries Hand at Old Game

TIMES STAFF WRITER

After a four-year hiatus, L.A. Southwest College has reinstated its men’s basketball program, and like most first-year teams, the Cougars appear to have a tough road ahead.

Southwest had competitive basketball teams during the 1970s and early 1980s, but the program was discontinued after the 1985-86 season because of district budget cuts.

In its last season, Southwest finished 28-4, won the Metro Conference and reached the semifinals of the state championships.

This season Southwest has a young club that was put together by Coach Joe Weakley, who was named coach in late summer. Not only did Weakley have little time to recruit, but the Cougars must--in essence--play all their games on the road. Southwest has no on-campus gym and will practice and play home games at Crenshaw High. That will make playing in the tough Southern California Athletic Conference all the more difficult.

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But Weakley, a former Crenshaw boys’ assistant, is excited about the future of his program.

“The opportunity was just so great,” said Weakley, who was part of four state championship teams at Crenshaw. “Any time you have the chance to start a program from the ground, it’s a great thing. I think it was a great move for me and hopefully for Southwest.”

Southwest starts three freshman and two sophomores. Freshman Robert Moore, an All-City point guard from Fremont High, and sophomore Patrick Sanders form the backcourt. The 6-foot-1 Sanders played at Crenshaw two seasons ago and at Columbia (Calif.) Community College as a freshman.

Sophomore Alhakim Satterwhiter will start at small forward. Freshman Nicholas Bragg will play forward and center. The 6-2 Satterwhiter is from Inglewood High, and the 6-5 Bragg is from Crenshaw. Freshman Evan Chatman (6-4) will start at the other forward.

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Point guard Tyrone Lockett (Gardena), off-guard Romano Henry and 6-4 forward Ernest Reed expect to see plenty of playing time. All three are freshmen.

“Our strength is quickness,” Weakley said. “But this is still a very young and inexperienced team. I think it’s going to take us another four games or so for us to jell together.”

Southwest opens SCAC play Jan. 8 at L.A. City College.

For the first time in school history, Southwest will have a women’s basketball team. The Cougars will compete in the Southern California Athletic Conference along with Harbor, Compton and L.A. Trade-Tech.

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Southwest has an all-freshmen team. Expected starters include Maritza Francis at point guard, Johmica Tucker at off-guard, Angie Patterson and Antoinette Moore at forward and Robertyne Scott at center. Junea Blount will be a backup forward and Mayra Palacios a backup off-guard.

Coach Ray Boulden and his assistant, Tracey McNeil, have previous coaching experience at Compton College. McNeil played at Compton and Cal State Dominguez Hills.

Southwest will practice and play home games at Washington High. The Cougars open SCAC play Jan. 24 at Harbor.


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