Conference honors 4 La Verne basketball stars

Sophomore Lori Johnson (#45) and junior transfer Heather Johnson (#30) each earned All-SCIAC first team honors. The two combined for 32.7 points per game for the Leopards. / photo by Alen Zilic
Sophomore Lori Johnson (#45) and junior transfer Heather Johnson (#30) each earned All-SCIAC first team honors. The two combined for 32.7 points per game for the Leopards. / photo by Alen Zilic

by Jennifer Parsons
Managing Editor

Freshman Kevin Gustafson and junior Ryan Burchfield were chosen this season as University of La Verne representatives for the All-Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) men’s team.

Gustafson, a starting power forward from Covina, is a first team All-SCIAC selection. During conference play, he ended his season with a teamleading average of 13.2 points per game and a shooting percentage of .648 for ULV’s basketball team.

“He [Gustafson] was the most consistent player, he didn’t really have high or low games. He played the point of the press,” said head coach Terry Boesel. “Kevin was most impressive because he led the conference in field goal percentage [65]. He was in the top 25 percent in the nation.”

“Our teams chemistry was a big part of it, I helped out in a lot of ways, but I wouldn’t say I was the main player on the team. As an incoming freshman I didn’t expect to be a main player, or be one of the ‘look up to’ guys,” said Gustafson.

Burchfield, a starting guard from Danville, was chosen for the All-SCIAC second team after ending conference with an average of 9.4 point per game and 82 percent from the free throw line.

“He was pretty big for us in a lot of games at the end of the game. He was there whether he was making free-throws, baskets or steals,” said Boesel.

“I’m honored [to be an All-Conference player]. It’s a pretty cool feeling. We were a good team. I asked my coach why I was chosen. I didn’t think I deserved it, to be honest. I was pleasantly surprised,” said Burchfield.

The All-SCIAC players were nominated by opposing coaches and were then voted upon by every other coach in the conference except for the player’s coach.

“It is very unbiased,” said Boesel. “First and foremost, with the player that gets nominated it is that coach’s responsibility to get the stats and put them on the board for others to see and compare to other nominees.

Aside from the statistics, coaches are able to make a statement about each player so that other coaches get a better idea as to why the player is worthy of receiving All-SCIAC recognition.

“I rely heavily on how that player performed against us specifically,” said Boesel of his voting.

Although Boesel is satisfied with with the All-Conference results, he said that it is difficult to compare ULV’s players to those of other schools through statistics because “my guys get 20 minutes a game, where other schools get 30-35.”

“It [All-SCIAC] is more for the players than it is for me. If we had a terrible season and players got on I wouldn’t be happy. It is nice to see a couple of kids get recognized.

“We didn’t have one or two guys to concentrate on, that’s what made us a good team. Without us being a good team, we wouldn’t have gotten anyone on the first team,” said Boesel.

“It wasn’t a goal. I was more interested in us doing better as a team. I figured if individual honors came along with it, that’s great, but by no means was it a goal of mine,” said Burchfield.

The women’s basketball team also picked up the honor of having two players make All-Conference.

Both, sophomore Lori Johnson, from Rancho Cucamonga and junior Heather Johnson from San Dimas were chosen for the All-SCIAC first team.

“Lori and Heather were pivotal to keeping us in games and making a difference in our wins. They’ve proven themselves as over all players,” said head coach Julie Kline.

For Lori Johnson, forward, this is nothing new to her, she also made All-Conference last season. Lori ended her season leading the team with a shooting percentage of 44, 103 rebounds and 15 blocks. She averaged 14.7 points per game.

“I didn’t think I was going to make it this year. My first year I had good stats, and was the second all-around good player in one of the top ranks. This year I wasn’t really competitive, I didn’t think I had high scores and I thought they’d raise the criteria,” said Lori.

Heather Johnson, ULV’s starting point guard, led the team with 51, 3-point field goals and 18 points per game. She had the second leading free-throw percentage in the conference, with 75.

“I always set my limits high, keeping a good work ethic. To work hard was more of a goal this year. I think it had to do with scoring. I was getting double teamed, my number stuck in their [coaches] heads when they thought of La Verne,” Heather Johnson said.

“The key to stopping La Verne was to stop the Johnson and Johnson combination,” said Kline.

Jennifer Parsons
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Alen Zilic
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