Normally, the City Section's most valuable player awards are given to the leading scorer of the championship team from each division.

That was the case in the boys' 3-A Division. Johnnie Sanders, who played for champion Franklin, shared MVP honors with Banning's Brian Jones.

It was also the case in the girls' 4-A and 3-A divisions. Kristi Lattin and Naila Moseley were named co-MVPs after leading Crenshaw to its third consecutive 4-A title and Kawai Matthews earned the award after guiding Narbonne to the 3-A championship.

But it was a different story in the boys' 4-A division. Fairfax point guard Duane Davis and Westchester guard Ben Sanders earned co-MVP honors despite playing for teams that lost to eventual champion Crenshaw. The Cougars beat Westchester, 73-59, in the semifinals and Fairfax, 78-76, in the 4-A finals.

"I think Duane and I both did a lot for our team success this year," Sanders said. "I think they made a good choice."

Sanders, a 6-foot-4 senior, averaged 23 points, seven rebounds and four assists a game. He had originally said he would attend Nevada Las Vegas but is waiting to find out who will be named the school's coach before making a decision. Tulane is also recruiting the Westchester standout.

Sanders was also selected to the City 4-A all-star team last season.

Davis, a 6-foot point guard, averaged 19.5 points and 5.7 assists. He signed early with Arizona State.

Other area players selected to the boys' 4-A first team: Casian Aguet (Palisades), Danny Walker (Westchester) and Jair Fray (Fairfax). Louis Talley (Westside Alternative) was selected to the boys' 3-A first team.

Tiffany Lewis (Westchester), Yuriko Jung (Venice) and Nicole Codd (Palisades) were selected to the girls' 4-A first team. There were no local players named to the girls' 3-A first team.

Selections were made by the Amateur Athletic Foundation board of sportswriters.


Steve Carroll has been selected as the Culver City High football coach after receiving approval from the Culver City school board Tuesday night. He replaces Rob Moore, who resigned and moved to Las Vegas.

Carroll, 35, was a special teams and outside linebacker coach last season under Moore. He was also a defensive coordinator under former coach Lou Lichtl in 1992.

In the interim, Carroll was the head coach at Mayfair of Lakewood. Before coming to Culver City, Carroll was defensive coordinator under Andy Szabatura at Bishop Montgomery from 1985-87 and the Knights' coach from 1988 to 1991.


Crossroads point guard Sherrise Smith said she will sign with California on Wednesday.

Smith, a 5-foot-6 point guard, averaged 19.5 points, 5.6 assists and three rebounds a game for the Roadrunners, who lost in the Southern Section Division IV-A semifinals. Smith was a member of The Times' 1994 Westside girls' all-star team.

"I chose Cal because of its great academic reputation and its great coaching staff," Smith said. "I think I'll fit in well there. I like the campus and environment."

Smith became the third Roadrunner to receive a scholarship. In November, Yasmeen Benjamin signed with UC Santa Barbara and Erin Irving signed with San Jose State.


When playing the St. Bernard baseball team, you can expect the unexpected from Vikings Coach Bob Yarnall.

A case in point was St. Bernard's 8-6 win over Bishop Amat, the state's eighth-ranked team, Saturday at Loyola Marymount.

Nick Norton led off the sixth inning with a home run to break a 5-5 tie and Ramel Greenfield followed with a double. After Brandon Pernell walked, the Vikings used a double steal to move the runners to second and third.

Then came Dion Battee, who hit a two-run home run in the first inning.

With the infield playing back, Battee bunted the first pitch and Greenfield scored on the squeeze play.

"They were back on their heels," Yarnall said. "We're unpredictable. They had no idea the guy was going to bunt, especially since he had already hit a home run."

The victory snapped the Lancers' 58-game regular-season win streak.


During the holiday break, Crossroads Coach Bill Keep worked with several area players at the Westside Baseball School.

Two of his pupils, Travis Haft and Merrel Ligons, were prominent figures for Palisades during an 8-2 win March 6 over Crossroads in the Westside tournament.

Haft drove in three runs, two on a home run, and Ligons had a bases-loaded triple to break the game open. Dolphin pitchers John Leicester and Anthony Matera combined for a three-hitter.

"I never thought I would feel good about getting beat by my own kids," Keep said. "But these kids worked hard and I was proud of them."


University finds itself in an interesting predicament. Not only are the Warriors not hitting the ball, but neither are their opponents.

The exception was last week when Jesse Kurtz-Nicholl pitched a no-hitter and had 14 strikeouts in a 9-0 victory over Manual Arts in a Coastal Conference game. First baseman Joey Gabriel had a home run and drove in four runs; catcher Kirk Romo also homered.

Despite getting continued good pitching, the Warriors struggled at the plate and dropped two of their next three games. Entering Tuesday's games, Gabriel was batting .167 and Romo .235.

"We're just not hitting the ball right now," University Coach Jon Beckerman said. "Gabriel. Romo. The list goes on and on. This is supposed to be a strong year for us, but it hasn't been because we're not hitting."


San Diego State scored five unanswered goals in the fourth quarter to beat UCLA, 10-5, in the first women's water polo match ever to be played at UCLA.

Trailing by two goals at halftime, the Bruins outscored the Aztecs, 3-1, in the third quarter to tie the score, 5-5. Freshman Stephanie Natcher had four goals and Devon Brewer added one for the Bruins. Goalkeeper Nicolle Payne had 15 saves.

The Bruins (5-5) play host to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at noon on April 1.

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