For the past 2 1/2 seasons, the Simi Valley High girls basketball team had dominated Marmonte League play, winning 25 consecutive contests.
In a league opener against Thousand Oaks on Saturday night at home, the Pioneers looked to extend the streak. But instead it was snapped.
Led by fine performances from Cindy Wiley and Lina Mascarenas, Thousand Oaks stymied Simi Valley, 68-49.
Yet, even though the outcome brought an end to an era, neither team seemed to notice. In fact, Thousand Oaks Coach Chuck Brown had even forgotten about the streak.
"I don't think about things like that," he said. "I just want to win ballgames."
And Dave Murphy, the Simi Valley coach behind two consecutive league titles, said he didn't even tell his girls about the streak. With only three returning players, it really didn't make that much difference anyway.
"Now, if it had been 100 games," he said, "that would have meant something."
The fact is, the victory by Thousand Oaks (12-3) came as no real surprise.
"We knew going in that we were the underdog," Murphy said. "Our kids played hard and they battled back. We're getting better, and if we continue to improve, we feel we'll make the playoffs.
"Thousand Oaks is a better team than us. You've got to give them credit."
Although Simi Valley's Sandy Nothvogel and Mascarenas opened the game by trading baskets, neither team looked sharp. But after the slow start the action intensified, with shots going in when they hadn't before. It's just that, much to Simi Valley's dismay, most of those baskets were going through the Lancers' hoop.
Thousand Oaks took a 15-8 lead after one quarter and, with bad passes and forced shots plaguing Simi Valley during the second quarter, the Lancers increased their lead to 35-16 by halftime.
Simi Valley surged early in the third quarter and cut the margin to 41-33, but Wiley made eight consecutive points and the Lancers led, 49-33, after three periods.
Wiley scored 18 points and Mascarenas added 17. Simi Valley was led by Sandy Nothvogel's 16 points.