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Glendale Holds Off Canyons to Win Title

Times Staff Writer

Brian Beauchemin, the Glendale College men’s basketball coach, can temporarily rest at ease--his young team is legitimate.

Sort of.

Glendale (7-4), a team comprising first-year players, won the Glendale tournament championship Saturday night with an 89-83 win over College of the Canyons.

Vaquero forward Dave Swanson hit a 3-point shot with 5:13 to play to give Glendale its first lead, 76-75. Seconds later, Swanson buried another shot from the same place to put the Vaqueros ahead by 4.

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The Cougars (9-6) battled back, however, and Steve Valenzuela’s basket with less than 3 minutes to play shaved the Glendale lead to a point, 81-80.

About a minute later, Glendale, which had rebuilt its lead to 4, muffed 3 chances to ice the game. Bruce Heicke and Alex Berry both missed the front end of 1-and-1 free-throw situations and Heicke committed a lane violation that nullified a teammate’s try.

“We made some crucial mistakes,” Heicke said. “It was a lack of concentration on my part.”

But it did not take long for Heicke to get a shot at redemption--and this time he capitalized. His 2 free throws with less than a minute left sealed the victory.

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Early on, it appeared that the Vaqueros would be handed their heads in front of the small home crowd of less than 100.

Canyons jumped to a 20-8 lead, fueled mainly by the play of forward Aaron Clark, who scored 12 of his 18 points in the first 6 minutes.

Berry, who finished with 24 points and was named the tournament’s most valuable player, scored 8 in the waning minutes of the half to cut the deficit at intermission to 5, 44-39.

Swanson, who seems to have acquired a knack for nailing key 3-point shots, tied the score, 50-50, with 17:58 to play.

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The Vaqueros still seemed listless until Jimmie Fowler’s double-fisted, back-door jam. Next, Fowler tipped in a rebound and had back-to-back blocks.

“The dunk just got everybody motivated,” Fowler said. “We started running them then.”

Beauchemin says that the emergence of Fowler, a 6-foot, 7-inch center, gives Glendale 3 bona fide threats down low. He added that he hopes to run a 2-post offense from now on.

“We put in the double post at halftime and I’ll be damned if it didn’t look like we’d been running it all year,” he said.

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Deon Myricks, Canyons’ 6-7 forward, was effective early but got into foul trouble and was used sparingly in the second half.

Afterward, Myricks was visibly upset with Coach Lee Smelser and had to be restrained from going after the coach.

“He wanted to prove that we could win without me,” said Myricks, who finished with 10 points. “I proved him wrong.

“I have a 42-inch vertical leap. I’m one of the best players in the state, and no one can stop me.”

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Earlier, Valley knocked off East L. A., 83-69, to take third place.

Valley center Oral Elrington scored a game-high 33 points to lead the Monarchs (5-5). Guard Tory Stephens added 18 and Joey Manliguis had 11 and were the only other Valley scorers to reach double figures.

For East L. A. (2-9), center David Kuresa scored 23 points.

Trailing by 11 after the first half, the Huskies held Valley scoreless until there was 15:30 to play.

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