After the Jan. 17 earthquake, the area's top high school basketball players became responsible for more than guiding their teams to a championship season. Some had to literally drive their teammates to games.
"It was a tough time for kids in Santa Monica," Crossroads Coach Daryl Roper said. "Things were falling down and buildings were crumbling. Our school was shut down. We had to find alternate sites for our basketball games."
And when their season resumed, players such as Luke Buffum of Beverly Hills and Terryl Woolery of Fairfax returned to shake basketball rims with thunderous dunks and snap nets with long-range jump shots.
Buffum and Woolery lead a list of 10 players selected to The Times' 1994 Westside All-Star team. Buffum, who was The Times' 1993 Westside player of the year, is the only repeat selection on this year's team, although Woolery, a transfer student from Los Angeles, was selected to The Times' 1993 Central City second team.
Selections were based on a poll of area coaches and Times sportswriters.
The players, along with their parents and coaches, will be guests of The Times at an awards breakfast at 9 a.m. Sunday at the Guest Quarters Hotel in Santa Monica. Winners of the South Bay player and coach of the year awards will be announced at the breakfast.
A closer look at the all-stars:
Louie Baity (Culver City)--A hard-working player, Baity refined his dribbling and passing skills in the off-season. He helped carry the team through Christmas tournaments when it was shorthanded. Baity was selected to the Southern Section 3-A Division second team and Ocean League first team.
Luke Buffum (Beverly Hills)--Rarely do the Normans get a mobile big man such as Buffum, who averaged 22 points, 8.5 rebounds and shot 60% from the field and 80% from the free-throw line. He also made 16 of 28 three-point attempts. He was selected to the Southern Section Division II first team.
Quentin McCowen (Venice)--Recognized as the most valuable player by his teammates, McCowen excelled offensively and defensively for the Gondoliers. He has an effective dribble-drive move to the basket and exhibited good post-up moves.
Ben Sanders (Westchester)--The 6-foot-3 junior guard made the all-tournament team at the Las Vegas Holiday Prep Classic and was selected to the all City Section 4-A team. Sanders is a slashing-type player, preferring to drive to the basket rather than shoot from the outside. He averaged 15.8 points a game. He was also selected to the an all-state underclassmen team.
Herman Schultz (St. Monica)--Ranks among great Mariner guards Earl Duncan, Jason Matthews and Jason Joe. Schultz's two best attributes were his passing and dribbling skills. The Mariners never had to worry about pressure defense because Schultz handled the ball so well. He averaged 13.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 7.8 assists. He was named to the Southern Section Division IV first team.
Bryan Sterling (Pacific Hills)--This 6-3 forward began his season playing with his team in Hawaii and finished his career at the State Division IV championships in Oakland. Voted the most outstanding player in the Southern Division V, Sterling averaged 21.6 points, 9.4 rebounds and five assists despite being double- and triple-teamed.
Arthur Tillett (Santa Monica)--One of the area's most versatile players, Tillett was a four-year starter and played three positions: power forward, small forward and point guard. Tillett is an outstanding defender who always guarded the opponents' leading scorer. He exhibited a strength in driving to the basket and averaged 17 points, nine rebounds and six assists. As a senior, Tillett developed a good three-point shot. He also was selected to the Bay League team.
Danny Walker (Westchester)--Selected most valuable player in the Artesia Holiday tournament and to the City Section 4-A team, Walker averaged 19.5 points and three assists. Walker is an outstanding shooter with great range. He can play the point or off-guard and he handles the ball well. Walker was co-MVP of the Coastal Conference.
Kejuan Woods (Crossroads)--After spending a season as Austin Croshere's understudy, Woods became the dominant player and focal point of the Roadrunner offense. He is an incredible leaper and has the ability to go left or right when driving to the basket. He shoots well from 17 to 18 feet. Woods is one of the premier players in the sophomore class.
Terryl Woolery (Fairfax)--After suffering a broken left wrist in the summer, Woolery returned to average 16.5 points, eight rebounds and four assists. The 6-4 senior forward was one of the area's best passers. Voted co-MVP of the Coastal Conference, he will attend Loyola Marymount on a basketball scholarship. His brother, John, is a senior guard at Santa Clara.
BOYS' ALL-STAR TEAM
Name: Louie Baity School: Culver City Year: Senior Points: 17.7
Name: Danny Walker School: Westchester Year: Sophomore Points: 19.5
Name: Ben Sanders School: Westchester Year: Junior Points: 15.8
Name: Luke Buffum School: Beverly Hills Year: Senior Points: 22.0
Name: Terryl Woolery School: Fairfax Year: Senior Points: 16.5
Name: Bryan Sterling School: Pacific Hills Year: Senior Points: 21.6
Name: Quentin McCowen School: Venice Year: Junior Points: 17.5
Name: Kejuan Woods School: Crossroads Year: Sophomore Points: 17.0
Name: Herman Schultz School: St. Monica Year: Senior Points: 13.7
Name: Arthur Tillett School: Santa Monica Year: Senior Points: 17.0
Westside Boys' Second Team
Player School Yr. Ht. Avg. Cassian Aguet Palisades Jr. 6-3 12.0 Frank Brown Beverly Hills Jr. 6-4 10.9 Robert Carrillo Murphy Sr. 5-10 14.1 Cullen Countee Westchester Sr. 6-3 12.0 Duane Davis Fairfax Jr. 6-0 15.2 Chris Ellison Culver City Sr. 5-11 10.2 Rasheed Hazzard Venice Sr. 6-1 14.8 Greg Metoyer St. Bernard Sr. 5-11 13.3 Teddy Miller Brentwood Jr. 6-2 15.0 Shaphan Roberts Fairfax Sr. 6-2 10.5