TWO IN A ROW
The Harbor College women's basketball team overcame numerous obstacles to win its second consecutive state community college championship last week.
Coach Louie Nelson, the architect of Harbor's success, was fired in January after he allegedly punched guard LaTrece Polk in the face during a practice. Polk, one of the team's top offensive players, played briefly in only one game after the incident.
Because of player defections, only eight of the 15 players who started the season with the Seahawks were with the team when the playoffs began. Harbor also finished the season with assistants Loretta Thomas and Herbert Ivy as the team's interim co-coaches.
None of the problems seemed to matter once the playoffs started.
Harbor had a close call when it defeated Chaffey, 70-68, in the Southern California regional final. The Seahawks also had difficulty before getting past College of the Sequoias, 77-75, in the first round of the state tournament--the first time they have defeated Sequoias in four attempts.
The Seahawks then cruised past second-ranked Ventura, 81-67, in the semifinals and led most of the way in their 71-66 victory over San Mateo in the title game.
In becoming the third school in the state to win back-to-back championships, the Seahawks (33-6) established a school record for most wins in a season. They were led by sophomores Rayjanette Lampkin and Michelle Duckworth.
Lampkin, a 5-foot-8 forward who was named most valuable player of the state tournament, averaged 21.3 points and 12.3 rebounds in the tournament after averaging 14.9 points and 6.1 rebounds during the regular season. She had 19 points and 10 rebounds in the championship game.
Duckworth, a 5-7 guard who averaged a team-leading 27.9 points during the regular season, also was named to the all-tournament team and was chosen to the all-state first team. Lampkin made the all-region team.
The Narbonne High girls' basketball team is all dressed up with nowhere to go.
The Gauchos (19-7) finished the season with 12 consecutive victories and won the first basketball championship in school history with a 47-40 victory over Chatsworth in the City Section 3-A Division final last week. But because the City 3-A champion does not receive a berth in the state tournament, Narbonne's season is over.
James Anderson, who co-coaches the Gauchos along with Maria Johnson, said he is disappointed that Narbonne doesn't have a chance to compete in the state tournament.
"I think we could go and maybe match up with a lot of teams," he said. "It's a shame we couldn't go on and get the opportunity to see what we can do."
That is why Anderson will lobby for the Gauchos to move up to 4-A next season. For the moment, though, Narbonne is content to revel in its accomplishment.
"Everyone's really excited about it," Anderson said. "To get a major championship means so much to this school and the program considering the reputation we've had here in the past."
With five starters returning next season, including 6-4 junior center Robin Hayes and 5-10 sophomore forward Kawai Matthews, there is a good chance that Narbonne's losing reputation will remain in the past.
Anderson said his biggest challenge will be maintaining consistency.
"I told the kids it'll be a lot different now because everyone will expect them to be right up there," he said. "But I think they accepted that, they enjoy being in the spotlight and they want to get back there again."
Ron Prettyman, who established a solid reputation as an administrator during his 12-year stint at Southern California College in Costa Mesa, has been named athletic director at Cal State Dominguez Hills.
He replaces Kay Don, who retired as the school's athletic director in August.
The search is on for a women's basketball coach at Loyola Marymount after Todd Corman's announcment last week that he is resigning effective May 30.
Corman, who coached the Lions for 10 seasons, resigned after Loyola lost to top-seeded San Francisco, 58-36, in the first round of the West Coast Conference tournament last week at Santa Clara.
"My wife and I have discussed the possibility of leaving Los Angeles and the only way to accomplish this would be to leave my position at Loyola Marymount," Corman said.
The Lions finished 6-21 and were last in the WCC this season. Corman's record at Loyola is 98-179.
Corman's best season was 1988-89, when the Lions were 17-11 and third in the WCC at 9-5.
School officials said they hope to name a new coach by June 1. Corman will continue to run the program, although assistant Lynn Flanagan has been handling much of the team's recruiting for the April signing period.
A milestone victory for Cal State Dominguez Hills women's basketball Coach Van Girard also earned the Toros a trip to the NCAA Division II tournament for the first time in school history.
Dominguez Hills defeated UC Riverside, 69-66, last week to win the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. tournament and earn Girard his 100th victory as Toros coach. Girard, in his seventh season with Diminguez Hills, has a career record of 100-86.
The Toros (21-5) have set school records for most victories and best record. They also won their first CCAA regular season and tournament championships.
The Toros, who opened the Division II tournament Wednesday night with a rematch against Riverside, have been led by junior forward Faye Hagan, who set a Dominguez Hills single-season record for points with 505.
The Loyola Marymount men's basketball team has landed two players on the all-WCC tournament team.
Junior center Ime Oduok, who scored 22 points and added six rebounds for the Lions (13-15) in their 87-83 victory over top-seeded Santa Clara in the first round of the WCC tournament, and sophomore forward Mike O'Quinn, who finished with 21 points and five assists in Loyola's 74-68 loss to Portland in the semifinals, were honored. Oduok finished with 36 points and 10 rebounds in the tournament and O'Quinn had 40 points and nine rebounds.
Karen Hanks, who has coached at Long Beach City College the past two seasons, has been named women's soccer coach at Dominguez Hills.
She replaces Jenny Grasso, who guided the Toros to a 10-5-2 record last season. Grasso has decided to pursue a career in law enforcement.
FLEET AND ELITE
Karolina Szabo of Hungary, who competed in the marathon at the Seoul and Barcelona Olympics, leads a world-class field that has been assembled for the women's elite division of the 16th Mobil St. Patrick's Day 10-K run Sunday morning at the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance.
More than 10,000 runners are expected to compete in the event, which includes a wheelchair division, blind invitational, a 5-K run and walk, and a half-mile children's run.
But the featured event will be the women's elite division, which is offering $20,000 in prize money, including $7,500 for the winner.
Proceeds from the event will benefit Vistas For Blind Child, an organization that raises funds for blind children and their families. Information: Elite Racing at (714) 548-4897.
The West Torrance High baseball team, which lost to Westminster La Quinta in the Southern Section Division III championship game and finished 25-7 last season, has been ranked No. 4 in Division I in a preseason poll.
The only other South Bay team listed is perennial power Redondo, which has been ranked No. 9 in Division II after advancing to the division quarterfinals last season and finishing 24-5.
Redondo is also among two South Bay teams listed in the Southern Section's preseason softball rankings. The Sea Hawks are ranked No. 2 in Division III and South Torrance is No. 4.
In addition, Peninsula is ranked No. 3 in Division I in the initial boys' tennis poll and Mira Costa is ranked No. 3 and South Torrance No. 8 in boys' volleyball.
The Loyola Marymount women's tennis team will visit Cal State Fullerton for a nonconference match at 2 p.m. today.
The Lions (12-4) have six freshmen on their 10-player roster. Loyola, which has four players who have won 16 or more matches, has been led by freshman Mara Colaizzi, who has a match record of 19-3, and freshman Amy Labetich at 19-6.
A WEEK IN PARADISE
The Loyola Marymount women's softball team will spend a week in Hawaii starting with nonconference games Monday and Tuesday in Honolulu.
The Lions (9-14) will play Chaminade on Monday, Hawaii Pacific on Tuesday and compete in the University of Hawaii tournament beginning March 16.
The American Roundball Corp. will conduct registration for its annual spring basketball league for boys in grades 7 through 12. Sign-ups will he held March 20 at 7 p.m. at the South Torrance High gymnasium. Information: Rich Goldberg at (818) 995-3761 or (818) 891-3988.