It isn't everyday when a touted basketball recruit picks Loyola Marymount over Notre Dame. In fact, Willie Jones could be the first.
Jones, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound forward from Mt. Carmel High in Chicago, was expected to sign a letter of intent this week to attend Loyola. He chose the Lions over hometown favorites Notre Dame and DePaul, among others.
"He liked it out there," said Gloria Jones, Willie's mother. "He liked the college, he liked the coach, he liked everything."
Mike Curta, the Mt. Carmel coach, credited Loyola Coach John Olive with doing the best job of recruiting Jones.
"It came down to Coach Olive making him feel the most comfortable," Curta said. "I've been overwhelmed by the amount of support (Olive) has shown."
Jones helped Mt. Carmel to a 25-4 record last season, averaging 11 points, seven rebounds and three blocks a game. Two other Mt. Carmel players will attend Kentucky and Syracuse on scholarships, Curta said.
A physical player who excels near the basket, Jones was named All-Chicago and All-Illinois honorable mention.
"I would describe Willie as a warrior," Curta said. "He is tremendously strong and a great leaper. He attacks the ball in the paint. He plays way (taller) than some people think he can play."
Jones was one of two prep standouts expected to sign with Loyola this week. The Lions received an unwritten commitment Sunday night from Terryl Woolery, a 6-3 shooting guard from Fairfax. Woolery, who averaged 16.5 points last season, is the brother of John Woolery, who played for Santa Clara and set the school single-season assist record last season as a senior.
That gives Loyola four incoming freshmen. The Lions signed Ben Ammerman, a 6-7 forward from Jesuit High near Sacramento, and Calvin Patterson, a 6-2 shooting guard from Fremont, in November.
GOLF AND STUFF
Reid Guille likes to golf.
The Morningside High math teacher thought the students at the school should have an opportunity to play too.
So he started a golf team.
Fielding a golf program at Morningside for the first time since 1975, however, has been no easy chore.
Recruiting players was Guille's first task. He now has eight.
"Golf is considered a wimp sport here with all the state championships from track and baseball," Guille said. "I had to go after players who were never involved in sports and tried to convince them to give golf a try."
Securing equipment required more ingenuity.
Guille, 47, lends his clubs to one player and Debbie Gordon, the lone girl on the team, uses his daughter's clubs. Two others had clubs at home. Donations and fund-raising efforts have supplied the rest.
Honing his player's skills has been a gradual process. Juniors Caleb Gordon and Irving Minera have been the Monarch's top players.
None of the team members had played on a golf course until the first match of the season.
The team, which was outfitted with uniform golf shirts last week, practices at the driving range at Hollywood Park and plays its home matches at the Chester Washington course.
The Monarchs (1-10) lost their opening nine matches of the season, but edged Culver City, 265-269, Friday. The winning streak was short-lived. Morningside lost to Chadwick, 195-282, in a Pioneer League match at home Tuesday.
Guille has invested about $500 into the program to help cover $120-a-week green fees and other expenses.
"I'm just glad we have a team," Guille said. "None of the kids ever had a club in their hands until January. We never expected to win a match this season. We only wanted to improve each week and have fun."
Jesse Ibarra hasn't had many players come out for the softball team at Mary Star in five years as coach.
This year's team has 10 members. But Ibarra is optimistic about the Stars' chances for a share of a fourth consecutive league title.
Mary Star, which has won 36 of 37 league games over the last four seasons, is 11-1-1 and 5-0 in Camino Real League play.
Senior catcher Karen Papadakis, a four-year starter, is batting .560. Papadakis drove in two runs and scored twice in a 12-2 nonleague victory over Gateway Christian Monday.
The Stars have three freshmen in their lineup: pitcher Julie Gonzalez, third baseman Kristina Arendain and right fielder Marisa Torrez.
Gonzalez is 7-1 with a 0.35 earned-run average and has struck out 66 batters in 46 innings. She had 12 strikeouts, and had a triple and drove in three runs in a 6-0 league victory over St. Genevieve on Tuesday.
"We don't usually start the season with more than 10 players, but we've been real fortunate in league," Ibarra said. "But whether its grades or injuries, God only knows if we'll have nine players by the end of the season."
Nicole Thomas, Felisha Williams, Tai-Ne Gibson and Joronda White combined to win the 1,600-meter relay in 3 minutes 43.71 seconds at the Arcadia Invitational Saturday night.
The time eclipsed the school record of 3:44.16 run by the 1990 state champion team and ranks third among California schools this decade.
Williams won the seeded 100 meters in 12.06 and ran on the Monarchs' 400 relay which placed fourth in 46.79.
The Morningside boys won the seeded 1,600-meter relay in 3:17.63. Phil Fonua of Mira Costa placed second in the shotput with a heave of 57 feet, 6 inches and Molly Mehlberg of Peninsula was third in the 3,200 at 10:45.40.
The El Camino College track team will compete in the Mt. San Antonio College Relays on Friday.
Sterlin Langford is the Southern Calfornia leader in the 400 at 47.52.
The 1,600-meter relay team of Dorlisa Good, Dorneisha Lewis, Toneshia Hodges and Cynthia Glenn has run 3:45.44 and Sawako Nakamura has timed 17:50.9 in the 5,000 for El Camino. Both times rank as the second-fastest in the state.
STAR AMONG STARS
Mimi McKinney of Peninsula High scored a team-high 21 points for the West team in a 96-69 defeat against the East in the inaugural National High School Coaches Assn. East-West all-star game at the Omni in Atlanta.
The 5-10 guard made seven of 14 shots from the field and grabbed seven rebounds, playing against the country's top seniors.
McKinney, a Cal-Hi Sports all-state first-team selection, has taken recruiting trips to Virginia, Auburn, Washington and Arizona.
Jason McEntee needs 23 kills to break the Loyola Marymount single-season record of 440 kills with two regular season matches remaining.
The 6-5 junior outside hitter also has 35 aces, breaking the single-season school record of 29 set by assistant coach Chuck Donlon in 1990.
The 14th-ranked Lions (5-12) will play host to eighth-ranked Pepperdine in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match Saturday night.
MAKING A RACKET
Julie Oshiro of Loyola Marymount is ranked 77th in the latest national tennis singles' rankings.
The senior from Gardena High compiled a 25-7 singles' record and advanced to the quarterfinals of the West Coast Conference tournament this year.
Oshiro finished with a four-year record of 81-44 to set a school record for career singles' victories.
A FEW GOOD MEN
Two teams sponsored by Gardena Auto Repair placed among the top six in the Jimmy Stewart Relay Marathon at Griffith Park last Sunday.
Wes Ashford, Danny Reed, Fredson Mayiek, Kevin Broady and Danny Gonzalez combined to place second in 2:11:06.
Harold Ketting ran two legs of the 26.2-mile relay on a Masters team (age 40 and over) of Barry Schaeffer, Gary Shapiro and Mike Scott, which finished sixth in 2:31:03.
A team from Mexico won the event to benefit St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica in 2:08:52.
THIS AND THAT
South Torrance High will conduct a 5K run to benefit the American Red Cross earthquake relief fund at 8 a.m. Saturday. Registration is $15 and the race will begin at Madison Street and Skypark Drive in Torrance. Information: (310) 533-4344. . . . The Loyola Marymount men's basketball awards banquet is scheduled for Wednesday at the Red Lion Hotel. Tickets are $40. Information: (310) 338-4530.