Toby Bailey got a taste of playing with--and against--his future UCLA basketball teammates in the Say No Classic championship game Sunday at Trade Tech.
Bailey, the former Loyola High standout, teamed with incoming UCLA freshman J.R. Henderson and sophomore Cameron Dollar on the Blue Chip team in a 96-93 victory over Team Pasadena ATFB, a squad that featured the Bruins' All Pacific-10 conference senior forward Ed O'Bannon.
"It's just like a scrimmage game with the guys I'm going to be playing with all the time at UCLA," said Bailey. "It will help the chemistry on our team when the first day of practice rolls, especially for the new guys coming in."
The Bruins trio worked well together Sunday.
Dollar, a 6-foot-1 guard who was named the classic's most valuable player, and Henderson, a 6-8 forward from Bakersfield East High, scored 17 points each while Bailey added 16. Bailey also had 24 points in a 101-88 semifinal victory against top-seeded Big Time.
In the championship, Blue Chip (4-4) held a 67-50 lead in the third quarter before Team Pasadena (6-2) climbed to within 93-90 with 16 seconds remaining. O'Bannon, who at times was guarded by the 6-5 Bailey, poured in 31 points for the Pasadena squad.
"Every time Ed started doing something great, I just kept trying to remember, 'He's on my team during the season,' so I didn't have anything to worry about. I couldn't get mad." Bailey said.
The Say No Classic, which concluded its 17th year, not only offers the players an opportunity to hone their skills, but girls' coaches such as Washington High's Julie Rousseau and Fremont's Mat Taylor too.
"Any time you do anything more and more, practice makes perfect," said Rousseau, who is entering her third season at Washington. "This is my off season and my time. I use it to sharpen my tools and skills for the upcoming season."
Last season, Rousseau, 29, helped the Generals rebound from a 10-15 finish in the 1992-93 season to win a share of the Southern Pacific Conference title and advance to the City Section 4-A Division semifinals.
She coached a team into the women's final of the Say No Classic for the third consecutive year. Her team, Rated PG, included Kyetra Brown of Jefferson and former Washington player April Adams, now at College of the Sequoia. Rated PG lost Sunday to Swish, 44-33.
"All the coaches in (the classic) kid around and it's fun and games, but it's all business when the high school season begins," Rousseau said. "So I'm not going to lose any sleep over this (championship) loss. . . . Maybe just a week's."
Naila Moseley and the rest of the Crenshaw High basketball squad missed an opportunity to play in Africa this summer when sponsorship for the trip fell through.
But the 6-foot sophomore did play in the Say No Classic, helping her team to the high school division title against Below the Rim, which included Manual Arts junior Laneishe Williams and Washington sophomore Kanisha Best.