These are highlights from around the state from 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 years ago as basketball was being played in the state during this same month as it is supposed to be played. Highlights include a boys player from five years ago at California School for the Deaf who had 46, 42 and 46 points in three straight nights, a boys player from 15 years ago at Harvard-Westlake who had 31 and 32 rebounds in back-to-back games, a No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the state girls hoops showdown from 2001 plus a look back at the senior years of the late Winters Patterson and the late Nick Vanos.
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* (Boys) Already with a 71-point performance from earlier in the season, senior guard Noah Valencia from California School for the Deaf (Riverside) had three big games on back-to-back-to-back days. First, he scored 46 points in a 69-67 win over California Lutheran of Wildomar, then 42 points during an 86-19 win over Riverside Christian and finally 46 once again during a 62-58 win over La Sierra Academy of Riverside.
* (Girls) If IImar’I Thomas from Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco hadn’t already been picked as a NorCal Girls Player of the Week from earlier in the 2015-16 season, she certainly would have gotten it again. In a win against Presentation of San Jose, Thomas scored a career-high 38 points with 14 rebounds and five blocks. Her scoring total also broke the single-game record in the rugged West Catholic Athletic League. Thomas also had 22 points, 11 rebounds and four assists in a game that same week against arch-rival St. Ignatius.
* (Boys) The brother of eventual 2016 girls’ State Player of the Year Sabrina Ionescu also was lighting up the scoreboard at Miramonte of Orinda. Sabrina’s brother, Eddy, is actually a twin. Ionescu had 36 points, eight rebounds and five blocks in a 65-49 victory in early February vs. Alhambra of Martinez and had 27 points and 13 rebounds when Miramonte beat Campolindo of Moraga 60-48.
* (Girls) Longtime coach Doug White of Corcoran became the CIF Central Section’s all-time winningest coach after his team beat Woodlake 42-30. According to section historian Bob Barnett, White improved his career record that week to 447-196. He passed Glen Hager of Bakersfield Stockdale, who ended at 446 wins.
10 YEARS AGO (2011)
* (Girls) One of the state’s leading juniors (and a future All-American at Stanford) was 6-foot-3 center Erica McCall from Ridgeview of Bakersfield. She may have had her best game of the season up until that point of the 2010-11 campaign when she had 31 points, 19 rebounds, 11 blocks and seven assists in a 68-42 victory against Golden Valley of Bakersfield.
* (Boys) It was a tough call at the top of the state rankings for this week after No. 1 Long Beach Poly had lost 58-53 at the Nike Extravaganza to nationally ranked Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas. While Poly still had not lost to a California team and was 22-1, Mater Dei of Santa Ana (22-2) was moved to the first slot. The Monarchs had a loss to Orange Lutheran by three points, but later avenged it with a 23-point win. Their other loss was to a nationally ranked team from St. Patrick of New Jersey, which that week also was No. 1 in the nation.
* (Girls) Despite her team’s Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division 79-66 defeat coming to Terra Nova of Pacifica, senior guard Grace Ujihara of San Mateo finished with 39 points and set a league record by making 10 three-pointers. The most fun part of it was that Ujihara broke the league record previously held by her head coach at San Mateo, Nancy Dinges. The coach accomplished that record while playing for nearby Hillsdale of San Mateo.
* (Boys) Perhaps the best game at the 2011 Nike Extravaganza was a come-from-behind 49-42 win by Taft of Woodland Hills over De La Salle of Concord. With Taft trailing midway through the third quarter, senior point guard Spencer Dinwiddie of the Toreadors took over. He scored 15 of his team’s final 23 points, and all but one of his game total 16 points came during that span of the game. Dinwiddie currently plays for the Brooklyn Nets in the NBA and was a standout in the Pac-12 Conference at Colorado.
15 YEARS AGO (2006)
* (Boys) Six-foot-8 senior Chase Budinger from La Costa Canyon of Carlsbad broke the CIF San Diego Section career scoring record with his first six points of the night in a 64-51 win over Westview of San Diego. Budinger finished the night with 38 points to push his career total to 2,635. He surpassed the previous section record of 2,610 set by Santa Fe Christian’s Nick Corso between 2001 and 2004. Earlier that same week, Budinger hit for 30 points in a victory against Poway.
* (Girls) One week after scoring a sizzling 44 points for St. Mary’s of Stockton in a win over state-ranked Carondelet of Concord, eventual Ms. Basketball State POY Jacki Gemelos hit for 45 points in another matchup of state-ranked teams. This time, though, the Rams lost 63-59 to Archbishop Mitty of San Jose. While the Monarchs got a great game from junior guard Danielle Robinson (29 points), head coach Sue Phillips gave high praise to Gemelos. “She’s just phenomenal,” Phillips said. “I would seriously compare her to Diana Taurasi because they are so similar in their versatility. We played Taurasi’s team at Don Lugo when she was in high school and Jacki is that good.” Gemelos suffered the first of several knee injuries just a few weeks after Phillips made that statement.
* (Boys) Enjoying a monster last week of the regular season was power forward Alex Stepheson from Harvard-Westlake of North Hollywood. In a 91-76 win over Chaminade of West Hills, the North Carolina-bound Stepheson scored 31 points and grabbed a school-record 32 rebounds. For good measure, he added four assists. In the regular season finale two nights later, the chairman of the boards went for 39 points, 31 rebounds, six blocks and four assists to help the Wolverines secure a tie for their second straight league title. In addition, his 63 rebounds for the week helped him break the school’s season record held by NBA player Jason Collins.
* (Girls) While one of the boys scoring leaders for the state in 2006 was Richmond’s Wendell McKines, a girl from the school was lighting it up as well. That would be Alexsis Brown, and during this week in that season she had a huge night with 11 three-pointers and 50 points to lead the Oilers past Encinal of Alameda, 81-62.
20 YEARS AGO (2001)
* (Boys) Ranked No. 2 in Northern California with a 19-1 record was Pittsburg. The Pirates had made a big move after a victory over higher-ranked De La Salle of Concord. Their top player was senior Trimaine Davis, who had 22 points vs. DLS and then in the following week he had 35 points in a 88-67 win over Liberty of Brentwood. Trimaine went on the play at San Diego State, but has become more well-known as an educator. He was on the field last Sunday at Super Bowl representing teachers as an honorary captain and participated in the pre-game coin flip.
* (Girls) In a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup of state-ranked teams and still one of the biggest games ever played in Ventura County, No. 1 Buena of Ventura defeated the defending national champions from Narbonne of Harbor City, 71-61. Buena took control of the game with seven straight points early in the fourth quarter. Tennessee-bound guard Courtney Young scored 22 points to lead the Bulldogs. Junior guard Lisa Willis scored 13 to pace Narbonne.
* (Boys) Lighting up the scoreboard for 39 and 43 points in back-to-back games was Wheatland High’s Robin Hood. Hood tossed in 43 in a 93-41 victory over Winters and had 39 in 69-66 win vs. Colusa. We don’t know if Robin later became a financial advisor or stock broker.
* (Girls) Scoring 40 or more points in a game were Stephanie Duda of Los Alamitos and Kelly Geis of El Segundo. Duda was no dud with 44 of her team’s 66 points and snared 17 rebounds to pace the Griffins past Fountain Valley 66-50. Geis put on the gas with 40 points (including 30 in the second half) to lead the Eagles past Culver City 65-59.
25 YEARS AGO (1996)
* (Girls) It wouldn’t have been thought that Leneni Noa from Grant of Sacramento was going to have one of that school’s most memorable outings entering the fourth quarter of a February 1996 contest between the Pacers and Bella Vista of Fair Oaks. Noa only had four points. In the fourth quarter and then three overtimes, she scored 29 for a game total of 33. Most amazingly, Noa was only one of four Grant players remaining for the last two minutes of play. She also swished buzzer-beating shots at the end of regulation and at the end of the first overtime that extended the game. Grant won by a final score of 70-67.
* (Boys) State scoring leader Winters Patterson from Balboa of San Francisco kept pumping up his average even though it was above 35 ppg for two months. In back-to-back outings in early February, Patterson erupted for 57 and 66 points in leading the state-ranked Bucs to a pair of wins. Patterson scored 57 in a 138-87 victory over O’Connell of San Francisco, the hit for 66 in a 118-68 romp past McAteer. Patterson’s season high of 82 points in December 1995 against Skyline of Oakland remains the all-time Northern California record. Patterson died from a heart attack at age 19 just two years later.
* (Girls) Jumping up to No. 2 on the CIF San Diego Section all-time career scoring list was Alissa Murphy from Scripps Ranch. She hit for a season-high of 38 points in a 93-40 victory over University City of San Diego. It was the first game back for Murphy since the end of a week-long San Diego teachers’ strike that wiped out a pair of games from the schedule. Murphy was averaging 26.8 ppg and her team ended the week with a 24-0 record.
* (Boys) McFarland of the CIF Central Section is a school that was known for winning CIF state titles at the time in cross country, but the boys basketball team was running up big scores as well. The Spartans won a game in early February 116-72 over Strathmore, which also was their 10th 100-point game of the season. McFarland didn’t get another 100-point game that season, but 10 is still the section record and is still on the all-time state list.
30 YEARS AGO (1991)
* (Boys) Leading players for the Class of 1991 included guard Chris Ford from Fremont of Los Angeles, forward Lamond Murray from Kennedy of Fremont, forward Ray Owes of San Bernardino, center Cherokee Parks from Marina of Huntington Beach, guard Tyus Edney of Long Beach Poly, guard Tes Whitlock from Loara of Anaheim, guard Dwain Bradberry from Manual Arts of Los Angeles, center Erik Meek from San Pasqual of Escondido, guard Kevin Ollie from Crenshaw of Los Angeles, guard Drew Barry from De La Salle of Concord, center Michael Tate from Fremont of Los Angeles, and center Monty Buckley from Christian Brothers of Sacramento. Ollie later became head coach at UConn and was there when the Huskies won the NCAA title in 2014.
* (Girls) Leading players for the Class of 1991 included guards Christina Adams from Granite Hills of El Cajon, Kellie Cook from Nevada Union of Grass Valley, Kristi Fulton from Clovis West of Fresno, Jody Hashigami from Kennedy, Stacey Johnson of Antioch, Dani O’Byrne from Westlake of Westlake Village, Mia Palke from Buena of Ventura, Kate Paye from Menlo School of Atherton, Tanda Rucker of Berkeley and Gigi Sweet of North Hollywood. Leading Class of 1991 forwards were Kim Barfield of Lynwood, Angela Bell from Fremont of Oakland, Alexandra Kay of Berkeley, Christine Murguia from Castle Park of Chula Vista and Tamika Phillips from Chaffey of Ontario. Among leading centers for that class were Beth Beers of Chino, Melissa Gower of Lakewood, Kesa Hughes from J.W. North of Riverside, Tanisha Huddleston of Merced, Nicki Manzo of Lompoc, Sal Tauau from Channel Islands of Oxnard and Tracy Titus from Loara of Anaheim.
35 YEARS AGO (1986)
(Boys) Three of the state’ hottest scorers were Keith Billingslea of South Gate, Kevin Walker from Brea Olinda of Brea and Jerry Simon from Marshall of Los Angeles. Billingslea, a guard who had committed to Fresno State, came through for 50 of his team’s 62 points in a 62-57 win by South Gate over Narbonne of Harbor City. Walker, a center committed to UCLA, showed off his scoring skills with 46 points to lead the Wildcats past Anaheim, 88-50. He also had a 35-point game earlier in the week. Simon, a guard who was averaging more than 30 ppg, had 34 points and 24 rebounds in a 58-54 win vs. L.A. Wilson and then had 40 points and 20 rebounds in an OT victory over L.A. Lincoln. Simon did something even more amazing in the following week with 47 points in the second half and 69 points overall when the Barristers beat L.A. Belmont 98-61. It set the CIF L.A. City Section record, beating the previous record of 68 set in 1967 by Doug Dunlap of Eagle Rock. Simon’s 69 points for one game also is still the L.A. City all-time best.
(Girls) Highland of Bakersfield downed Arvin, 30-28, to break a 63-game league losing streak. Earlier in the season, Highland’s girls had snapped a 74-game overall losing streak.
(Boys) One of the best single-game free throw shooting outings was turned in by Greg Scattini from Palma of Salinas. You’d think that an opposing team from Seaside would have figured that out and stopped fouling Scattini during an 86-64 win by the Chieftains over the Spartans. Scattini took 26 free throws on the night, connected on 24 of them and accumulated 44 points in rather unusual fashion.
(Girls) One of the stat stars of the month was dominating center Tara Cross from Southern California Christian of Anaheim. She rang up 37 points in a 54-40 triumph over Orange Lutheran and had several other 30-point games. Even then, though, Cross was more well-known for volleyball. She had led her school to the 1985 CIF D3 state title in volleyball and went on to play many years for the U.S. National Team.
40 YEARS AGO (1981)
* (Boys) It was two more big games for Hillsdale of San Mateo big man Nick Vanos. First, he scored 33 points and pulled down 22 rebounds in a 60-43 triumph over San Mateo. He then had 41 points and had 21 rebounds in a 73-67 win vs. Capuchino of San Bruno. At the time, Vanos was among the state leaders with 26.1 ppg. He would go on to star at Santa Clara University and was a member of the Phoenix Suns in the NBA in 1987 when was killed, along with his fiancee Carolyn Cohen, in a plane crash in Michigan. That crash occurred just after takeoff and took the lives of 152 others plus two motorists on the ground.
* (Girls) In her first 13 games, center Brandace Hope of Mendocino had scored 357 points for a 27.5 ppg average. In a 101-42 romp past Upper Lake, she burned the nets for 49 points.