The Top 10 sports stories of 2012 as chosen by The Burbank Leader
New Memorial Field athletic facility finally unveiled and athletes and teams venturing into unchartered territory highlight list of accomplishments.
ARCHIVE PHOTO: Burbank, Bell-Jeff and Burroughs football teams were all able to play their first seasons at the renovated Memorial Field this fall. (Roger Wilson/Staff Photographer)
Although many of the stories deserve recognition, a select few stood out among the others.
Chosen by the Leader, here is a list of the top 10 stories of 2012.
1) Memorial Field project finally finished: After months of construction and the displacement of the three local high school football teams, the city finally unveiled the newly remolded venue in February in a grand-opening ceremony.
Construction of the facility on the Burroughs High campus lasted 14 months. As a result, the three Burbank-area football teams had to play all of their games on the road during the 2011 season. The project was originally scheduled to begin in April of 2009, but was delayed 21 months.
The $12.2-million facility that is home to the Bulldogs and Indians football teams, as well as Bellarmine-Jefferson, features a new athletic field with artificial turf, an all-weather track, new pole vault, long jump, high jump and throwing areas, as well as new bleachers, lighting, restrooms and concession stands.
This fall, all three football teams were able to play their first seasons at the renovated venue.
2) Lovett Jr., Providence boys’ basketball have banner seasons: Behind a remarkable freshman season from Marcus LoVett Jr., the Providence High boys’ basketball team made history during the 2011-12 season.
LoVett earned his share of awards, including being named CIF Southern Section Division V-A Player of the Year, Liberty League Player of the Year and 2012 All-Area Boys' Basketball Player of the Year.
But LoVett's accolades are not limited to Southern California. The sharp-shooting guard was named to the MaxPreps.com Freshman All-American Team. He also earned Division V All-State first-team honors by MaxPreps.com.
He averaged 31.7 points a game, which was best in the nation among freshmen according to MaxPreps.com. In addition, he poured in 1,035 points for the season — breaking the school record — and put up 35.8 points a game in the playoffs.
What might be the most remarkable aspect of LoVett's game was his consistency as a scorer throughout the season. He never scored fewer than 20 points in all of team's 32 games, tallying 30 or more points 17 times and hitting the 40-point mark six times — twice in the postseason. His season high was a 57-point performance in a tournament game against Santa Maria St. Joseph.
He also averaged nearly five rebounds and more than three assists and three steals a contest.
Behind LoVett, Providence (26-6) captured its first Liberty League championship in 12 years.
The Pioneers enjoyed a historic postseason run, advancing past the quarterfinals for the first time in school history. Unfortunately for Providence, its first-ever appearance in a CIF championship game ended with a 65-62 overtime loss to league foe Holy Martyrs.
Providence also advanced to state competition for the first time, losing to Mission Prep, 68-62, in the opening round of the Southern California Regionals of the CIF State Division Championships.
3) Bell-Jeff softball team returns to second straight CIF title game: No other team has been as successful at Bellarmine-Jefferson High over the last two years as the school's softball squad.
Over that span, the Guards have captured consecutive Santa Cruz League championships and made back-to-back appearances in the CIF Southern Section Division VII tile game.
Although Bell-Jeff fell in the 2012 title game to Pomona Catholic, 1-0 — it also lost to the same team in 2011, 7-6 — the Guards still put together a wildly successful season. In addition, the Guards could take comfort that they lost no seniors to graduation. On top of that, the team also fielded just two juniors last season.