We presented Blasts From The Past every week in the fall for football, and will now look at doing the same for boys and girls basketball when those teams should be playing this winter. These are highlights from around the state from 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 years ago. From 15 years ago this week, one of the most prolific players in NBA history, Russell Westbrook from Leuzinger of Lawndale, had his first breakout game in high school with 51 points. We also have a girl with 44 points and 15 rebounds who’s uncle was a beloved comic actor plus another girl with a triple double of 11 points, 14 rebounds, 19 blocks.
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5 YEARS AGO (2016)
* (Boys) Bishop Montgomery of Torrance solidified its status as the state’s No. 2 team at the 3rd Annual Take Flight Challenge with an easy 73-51 win over No. 5 Corona Centennial, a team that was missing UCLA-bound big man Ike Anigbogu. Forward Jordan Schakel led the Knights with 25 points, while fellow junior Ethan Thompson added 21 points, with sophomore David Singleton netting 14.
* (Girls) St. Mary’s of Stockton was sitting at No. 1 not just in the state but in every major national ranking. The Rams took down all comers in both the Nike TOC in Phoenix and the Title 9 tournament in Washington D.C. The biggest win was a 75-70 victory over national No. 2 Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Maryland) in the championship game of the top division at the Nike TOC. Aquira DeCosta, the 2015 State Freshman of the Year and the ESPN No. 1 rated player from the class of 2018, went for a huge double-double 22 points and 19 rebounds.
* (Boys) Already with several state stat star worthy performances from earlier in the season, Elyssu Worku of Los Alamitos had two more in a week highlighted by a season-best 51 points during an 87-80 win over Highland of Gilbert, Arizona at the Under Armour Holiday Classic. For the game, he was a perfect 6 for 6 from behind the three-point line while also making a home at the free throw line where he knocked down 17 of his 21 free throw attempts. Worku followed up his season-best performance with 33 points during a 75-63 win the next day against San Marcos.
* (Girls) Sam Boyle of Scotts Valley might have had one of the best triple-doubles in state history with 11 points, 14 rebounds and 19 blocked shots in a victory vs. Granada of Livermore. It was a semifinal game of a division at the West Coast Jamboree and Boyle’s 19 blocks also got her name into the state record book.
10 YEARS AGO (2011)
* (Girls) The career scoring record at Edison of Huntington Beach fell to senior Bonnie Samuelson after outings that included 31 points vs. Palmdale, 32 vs. Muir of Pasadena and 29 vs. Bishop Amat of La Puente. Bonnie moved her career total to 2,231 points and surpassed the previous record of 2,186 set in 1997 by Marie Philman (who later played at UCLA). Bonnie’s younger sister, Carly, was a sophomore at Edison at the time while future Mater Dei Ms. Basketball Katie Lou was still in the eighth grade.
* (Boys) Sizzling senior Cezar Guerrero from St. John Bosco of Bellflower was epic with 48 points in a game for the Braves against nationally ranked Mater Dei of Santa Ana. Although Bosco lost 86-77, but it was one of those outings that had people around the state (and even nation) buzzing.
* (Girls) CIF Central Section historian Bob Barnett reported to us this week for this season that Sydney Fipps from Yosemite of Oakhurst scored a section high of 43 points for one game, making six from 3-point land, and was 13-of-16 at the free throw line in a 77-55 win over Washington of Easton>
* (Boys) Thought to be the leading scorer in the state at the time, Redlands’ Ashton Robinson had a 31-point game in a 67-61 loss to Oak Hills of Hesperia before exploding for 56 points the very next day in a 87-65 victory over Bloomington. Robinson was averaging nearly 35 ppg at this point of the 2010-11 season.
15 YEARS AGO (2006)
* (Boys) In what was the first of many explosive scoring games that were to come in later years in the NBA, senior guard Russell Westbrook from Leuzinger of Lawndale poured in 51 points in a 81-65 victory over Carson that upped the Olympians’ record to 14-1. Westbrook had been spotted the previous summer as one of the most improved prospects in the state from the previous season. As we wrote for this performance: “He’s playing better than advertised. If he keeps it up, he’s going to be a strong candidate for our all-state team.” That not only happened but so did a scholarship to UCLA and the rest, as they say, is history.
* (Girls) Fabulous freshman Layshia Clarendon was at it again, scoring 30 points, grabbing 14 rebounds, dishing off six assists and collecting six steals in an easy 71-33 win by Cajon of San Bernardino over Rubidoux of Riverside. Three years later, Layshia was named Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year.
* (Boys) In a major Serra League showdown at Santa Margarita of Rancho Santa Margarita that we attended, state No. 4 Mater Dei of Santa Ana needed overtime to get past the host Eagles, 71-65. Santa Margarita entered the night at 17-0 and was No. 10 in the state. No one knew until just before game time that highly regarded James Keefe was going to play for the Eagles. He did and had a game-high 27 points. Junior Taylor King had 26 points for the Monarchs, but the difference was point guard Kamryn Brown, who had 18 points and opened up the floor for other players. Jonathan Gunderson had 17 for Santa Margarita, including the draining of two free throws with five seconds left in regulation that sent the game to overtime.
* (Girls) There was a KG in the NBA (Kevin Garnett) and a KG (Kavita Goss of Newbury Park) in Ventura County who were both putting up big numbers. Goss drained five 3-pointers and had a school record 43 points in a 70-61 victory against Moorpark. Goss also made 12 of 13 free throws and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Panthers.
20 YEARS AGO (2001)
* (Girls) Morro Bay multi-sport standout Karena Bonds came up big with 26, 30 and 24 points in leading her team past Atascadero (46-31), Cabrillo of Lompoc (54-28) and Mission Prep of San Luis Obispo (61-56). Bonds also averaged seven rebounds and five assists for those three games and hit a three-pointer that broke a tie with just a few seconds remaining against Mission Prep. Karena is a cousin of MLB home run king Barry Bonds and part of one of the greatest, perhaps the greatest, athletic families in California history.
* (Boys) Regarded as one of the top seniors in Northern California, Jason Parker became the all-time leading scorer at Gridley High with 1,926 career points. The 6-foot-7 Parker passed Alex Austin, who had 1,899 points in his career with the Bulldogs. Parker also moved to third on the all-time list for the CIF Northern Section.
* (Girls) Grant of Van Nuys’ senior Alexis Weatherspoon tied a school record with 44 points and broke a school record with 15 assists as she helped her team to a 99-25 thrashing of non-league foe Birmingham (Lake Balboa). Weatherspoon, also one of the top track sprinters in the state, had 10 rebounds in the first half. She is the niece of late actor John Weatherspoon (acting name was Witherspoon), who played Pops on the Wayans Brothers TV show.
* (Boys) After being erroneously listed with his last name spelled wrong on the annual all-state small schools football team, Ferndale’s Mike Collenberg went out in one of his first basketball games and poured in 34 points to lead his team past Willits, 69-61.
25 YEARS AGO (1996)
* (Boys) In a matchup of the No. 1 and No. 2 teams from the Long Beach Press-Telegram coverage area, No. 1 Dominguez of Compton impressed with a 70-48 win over No. 2 Jordan of Long Beach. The Dons also were placed No. 1 in the first regular season state rankings of the 1995-96 season. Sophomore forward Jason Thomas, still getting used to basketball after playing quarterback in football, had 16 points for Dominguez. Sophomore Tayshaun Prince added 12 points.
* (Girls) Buena of Ventura improved to 10-0 with wins over Santa Barbara (65-35) and Oxnard (55-42) and earned the first regular season state No. 1 rankings. Nicole Greathouse scored 22 points to lead all scorers vs. Santa Barbara. Kori Sebek hit for 17 vs. Oxnard. The Bulldogs also had won the Buena Kiwanis and San Jose Archbishop Mitty tournaments in getting out to their strong start.
* (Boys) State 1995 Junior Player of the Year Corey Benjamin of Fontana netted 37 points despite his team losing 78-73 in overtime to J.W. North of Riverside. The effort upped Benjamin’s scoring average to 28.5 ppg. Also from the Inland Empire, Bob Burries from Pacific of San Bernardino recorded his eighth triple-double of the season with 33 points, 18 rebounds and 14 assists to lead his team past Rialto, 99-82.
* (Girls) Oregon State signer Vanessa Morris of Ceres upped her scoring average to 30.3 ppg after hitting for 35 to lead the unbeaten Bulldogs past Los Banos 58-31. It also was her ninth 30-point game already of the season.
30 YEARS AGO (1991)
* (Boys) In a 93-50 victory by El Segundo over Glendale Academy, senior guard Chris Hansen became the first player in state history to connect on 12 three-pointers in a single game. There were two others later that season who also made 12 three-pointers in one game — Mark Dillon of El Cajon Valhalla and Jamie Hamilton of San Dimas — but Hansen was first. He also finished with 40 points in that contest.
* (Girls) The second girl to go 14-for-14 from the free throw line in one game was accomplished in December of 1990 just before the 1991 new year by Vicki de Jesus from Mt. Carmel of San Diego. She did it in a 56-40 triumph over Poway. The first to do that was two seasons earlier, Jenn Krill, from Nevada Union of Grass Valley.
35 YEARS AGO (1986)
(Girls) The first regular season No. 1 state ranking was easy. It had to be Muir of Pasadena. All Muir had done early that season was roll to a 13-0 record, snap San Diego Point Loma’s 63-game win streak, and defeat national No. 1 preseason team Christ the King of New York. The key for the Mustangs was the development of 6-foot-2 sophomore Tasha Bradley since the team already had 6-foot-2 Pauline Jordan and 6-foot-2 Geannine Jordan doing dominant things up front.
(Boys) Despite losing two games at a South Carolina tourney during the holidays that attracted top teams from across the nation, Crenshaw of Los Angeles still took the first No. 1 statewide ranking for the regular season. The Cougars already had scored more than 100 points five times after they did that 12 times in 1984. Six-foot-3 senior Stephen Thompson and 6-foot-4 Dion Brown were Crenshaw’s top two returning players.
40 YEARS AGO (1980)
(Boys) One of the state’s leading scorers for early in the season was Westminster of La Quinta’s Johnny Rogers. The big red-head poured in 158 points in a four games at the Bonita Vista tourney in Chula Vista. Included in that performance was a 50-point effort in a 100-34 win over the Taipei America Team of the Republic of China.
(Girls) The highest reported individual scoring total for either a boy or girl through the first month of the 1980-81 season was turned in by Fremont Christian’s Chris Metzger, who hit the nets for 51 points in one December game. Another small school team from Northern California, Mendocino, had begun 5-0 and had scored more than 100 points in four of those first five games.