Simi Valley Shorts Rolling Hills, 67-59

Times Staff Writer

In the locker room Friday night, Don MacLean discovered--to his amusement and slight embarrassment--that he had his shorts on backward.

"They were like that the whole game," he cried out in mock horror to his teammates.

Don't worry, Don.

Nobody noticed.

The overflow crowd at Miraleste High in Rancho Palos Verdes was too busy admiring MacLean's shooting, rebounding and overall dominance in a 67-59 victory over Rolling Hills that moved Simi Valley into the semifinals of the Southern Section 4-A basketball playoffs.

The Pioneers (26-2) will meet top-seeded Capistrano Valley (27-2) Tuesday night.

MacLean put the quarterfinal victory in Simi Valley's pocket by halftime, making 9 of 10 shots, scoring 20 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in only 15 minutes of floor time as the Marmonte League champions built a 39-23 lead.

They cruised after that, winning for the 20th time in their last 21 games.

MacLean took it easy in the second half, making 2 of 4 shots and finishing with 28 points--he made 11 of 14 shots and 6 of 6 free throws--22 rebounds and four assists.

"I was kind of hoping that he wasn't as good as I'd heard," Rolling Hills Coach Cliff Warren said of the 6-8 sophomore. "But he was. He was even better than I'd heard.

"He was great. He doesn't play like a sophomore."

Perhaps it was the surroundings.

Miraleste's gym floor is done up in the school colors of cardinal and gold, which are similar to Simi Valley's maroon and gold.

In fact, MacLean said everything about the brick gym was to his liking.

"I was really feeling pretty good," he said. "I really liked the floor and the baskets."

MacLean said the Titans "were just sagging off me. I think, going into the game, they didn't think I could hit the 20-footer."

Now they know better.

But MacLean wasn't the only one making everything he threw up in the first half.

Simi Valley made its first eight shots--six by MacLean--before Steve Jenner missed from the corner with 50 seconds left in the first quarter. Teammate Travis Bice rebounded the shot, however, and scored on a follow.

That started a pattern. The Pioneers missed only seven of 25 first-half shots, and after five of them they scored anyway within a matter of seconds. Three times, they scored on follow shots. Another time, MacLean was fouled after taking a rebound and made two free throws. Lastly, Jenner scored on an inbounds play after Bill Schell was called for traveling while taking Rolling Hills' only offensive rebound of the half.

"That's coaching," Simi Valley Coach Bob Hawking joked. "Actually, the ball was just bouncing our way in the first half."

Simi Valley shot 72% to Rolling Hills' 42% and outrebounded the Titans, 19-5.

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