High School Sports

SLO High hires Thompson as new basketball coach

San Luis Obispo High hired Jim Thompson as its varsity boys basketball head coach Monday.

Thompson, 54, is a 16th-year physical education teacher at the school. He served as the Tigers’ head baseball coach from 1996 to 2004, compiling a 166-92 record and claiming a CIF-Southern Section Division 4 championship in 2000. During his tenure, the program reached the postseason all but once and won three league titles.

Thompson has long been interested in the head basketball position, he said, although his past duties in baseball had been too time-consuming to pursue another sport concurrently. He previously coached basketball at the junior varsity level for San Luis Obispo in 1994-95 and 1995-96, following earlier JV stints at Coast Union and Cuyama Valley.

“Really, I was just kind of looking to get back into coaching,” Thompson said. “I’m thrilled with the opportunity.”

Thompson will take over for John Jensen, who stepped down March 26 after a five-year run that included winning seasons in three of the past four years. In 2008-09, Jensen guided the program to a 21-7 campaign, its first league championship in 20 years and a Division 4AA quarterfinals appearance. This past year, the Tigers won six of their final seven regular-season games before upsetting Cabrillo, the Los Padres League champion, in the opening round of the divisional postseason.

“(Jensen) did a great job for us, putting in as much time and effort as he did,” Tigers athletic director Vic Ecklund said.

Phone messages left for Jensen — who doesn’t work at the school — at the time of his resignation seeking comment as to why he moved on weren’t returned.

Thompson’s already being on-campus will naturally help players be able to reach him and made him an appealing candidate, Ecklund said.

Much of his teams’ playing styles will stem from his players’ traits, Thompson said. Ten of the Tigers’ 15 players from last year’s 13-14 squad are set to return for next year, including 6-foot-6 center Sean Mullen, an all-San Luis Obispo County first-team selection as a junior.

“I know we’ve got a good group of players and a good mix of classes,” Thompson said.

San Luis Obispo is also looking for a new girls basketball coach, and should conduct interviews next week, Ecklund said.

KERSTHOLD COMMITS TO EMORYMission Prep senior shortstop Ally Kersthold has committed to play softball at Emory University, a Division III school in Atlanta.

Kersthold earned all-county second-team honors as a freshman, following with first-team status as a sophomore and junior.

CIF-SOUTHERN SECTION DIVISIONAL RANKINGSThree county teams were ranked in respective CIF-Southern Section divisional polls released Monday.

Atascadero softball (15-2) led the trio, rising to No. 2 in Division 3, followed by North County Christian baseball (8-0) at No. 4 in Division 7 and Arroyo Grande boys tennis (9-3) at No. 9 in Division 2. San Luis Obispo boys volleyball (12-1), meanwhile, remained in the others-receiving-votes category in Division 2.

BOYS TENNISDos Pueblos 13, Arroyo Grande 5The Eagles got a pair of singles wins each from freshmen Eli Whittle (who went 6-0, 6-0, 3-6) and Sean Hollister (6-2, 6-0, 0-6). Arroyo Grande, leading the PAC 7 at 6-0, will open the second round of league play with a 3 p.m. match at Pioneer Valley today.

BOYS GOLFTwo PAC 7 duals were rained out.

Atascadero will make up its home date with Pioneer Valley at 2 this afternoon, and Paso Robles hopes to visit Righetti on April 20, although that makeup date isn’t finalized.

Additionally, Templeton had to postpone its Los Padres League home dual with St. Joseph, although the date of the makeup dual won’t be settled until Thursday.