A city continues its reformation, as the Tarbabes of Compton High defeated the Redlands East Valley Wildcats 63-48 in the CIF-SS Division 2A championship game at Honda Center in Anaheim.
Compton Boys Basketball Head Coach Tony Thomas has spent nine years rebuilding the program, winning its eighth CIF title, but their first since 1969.
“This game means a lot to me,” said Thomas. “The school hasn’t won it in 46 years, and to watch the city go from the 60s and 70s with all the drugs and the gangs, after all that transition, for us to pull it through, we’re the hub of the city. This means a lot.”
Compton’s Javonntie Jackson was dominant on the glass in the first half, pulling down 11 offensive boards, more than the Wildcats had total in the first quarter. The Tarbabes outrebounded the Wildcats 52-29 in the game, 24 on the offensive end and scoring 17 second-chance points. Senior Robert Lewis led the team with 16 points, while Jackson had 14 points and 18 rebounds.
Coach Thomas’s father Eddie was an assistant coach on the Compton championship teams in the 60s. He later became head coach of the Tarbabes from 1972 to 1987, a period that included school riots and civil unrest. The Compton High team’s gym is named after him in his honor. Now his son has accomplished what he could not as a head coach: Winning a championship.
“My father was the first African-American coach of the program, and I’m the first African-American to win a championship,” he said. “I’m no Jackie Robinson, but I’m the first at something.”