Notebook / Sean Waters : After Successful Surgery, Brown Ready to Lead Thousand Oaks

Chuck Brown of Thousand Oaks High had some nervous moments this week, but it had nothing to do with his girls' basketball playoff game tonight.

Brown underwent surgery to remove a blockage from an artery to his heart Monday at Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks. He was released Tuesday and will coach the Lancers against Buena in a Southern Section 5-A Division quarterfinal at Thousand Oaks.

"I'm feeling really good," Brown said. "It wasn't painful. I was awake for the operation and I watched the whole thing on a TV monitor."

The surgery performed on Brown is called angioplasty. Doctors inserted a tube into an artery in Brown's right leg and pushed it toward his heart. A balloon that is inserted in the tube expanded to open up the artery. Doctors removed two blockages.

Brown said he first felt a tightening in his chest during the Thousand Oaks holiday tournament in December. His doctor recommended that Brown take a treadmill test after the symptoms reoccured two weeks ago.

"I thought my chest hurt because it was cold," Brown said. "When they discovered some abnormalities, I decided to have it further examined and then have the operation."

Brown has been given a diet to cut down his cholesterol intake and will have to exercise more.

"I know the players will be excited about that," he said. "Every time the players take a lap, I'll have to run with them."

Talking up a victory: Thousand Oaks (23-4) has not beaten Buena (21-3) in five tries and tonight's game will be a rematch of last year's Southern Section 4-A Division quarterfinal game.

Buena, the Channel League champion and the third-seeded team, has been forced to shuffle its lineup to compensate for a rash of injuries. Joannie Weinerth, who successfully moved from off-guard to point guard, leads the team in scoring with a 19.4 average. Mindy Huskey, a 5-foot-8 forward, has been the Bulldogs' most improved player and has averaged 13.9 points a game.

Thousand Oaks, the Marmonte League champion, features Shani Smyth, Amy Chandler and Michelle Palmisano, a freshman who is the younger sister of former Buena standout Teresa Palmisano.

Both teams received first-round byes and posted easy victories in the second round. Buena defeated Arroyo Grande, 59-34, and Thousand Oaks was a 68-53 winner over Edison.

Thousand Oaks advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time last season before losing at Buena, 44-30. The Lancers are confident the outcome will be different this time.

"I'm glad they've been talking about going out and beating Buena," Brown said. "We have been pretty much intimidated by them in the past."

Record setters: Simi Valley point guard Keira Irwin recorded 14 assists in two playoff games last week to increase her season total to a school-record 163. Kate Templeton held the previous mark with 150 assists during 1980-81 season.

Irwin needs three assists to set a school record for most assists in a career. Kristie Sterbens, who plays for Moorpark College, had 299 when she played at Simi Valley from 1984 to 1987.

Irwin gets a chance to do just that when Simi Valley (16-11) plays at Don Lugo (21-6) in a 5-AA Division game tonight.

Climbing the scoring ladder: Senior guard Shannon Solway has an outside chance to become Simi Valley fifth-leading all-time scorer. Solway needs 55 points to pass Paula Cooper. Cheri Graham is the school's all-time leading scorer with 1,381 points. Solway scored 45 points in the Pioneers' two playoff games and is shooting 50% from the field (20 for 40).

"She's been phenomenal," Simi Valley Coach Dave Murphy said. "The whole team has been shooting well. We're doing more than just posting up and making layups."

Solway has the fourth-best scoring total in a season with 396 points.

Graham had the two best seasons with 692 points in her junior year and 689 as a senior.

Cut man: Buena Coach Joe Vaughan has spent so much time recently patching up his players that he's considering a career change.

Last week, Huskey hit her forehead on the tooth of teammate Jennifer Goodwin and needed stitches to repair a gash over her left eye.

Against Brea-Olinda, Weinerth fell and bit through her lower lip.

"I'm thinking about becoming a fight doctor," Vaughan said. "The money those boxers make, they could use someone like me."

Raging Regents: The Lancers are not the only good girls' basketball team from Thousand Oaks. La Reina (19-5), which won the Tri-Valley League, also has reached the quarterfinals and will play host to Twentynine Palms (19-5) tonight.

The Regent lineup features a freshman, a sophomore, two juniors and a senior.

The veteran of the group, Amy Alarian, averages 12.1 points and 6.5 rebounds a game. The 6-3 center has made a verbal commitment to attend Baylor next season.

Freshman Sasha Scardino leads the team in rebounding with an 8.5 average and sophomore point guard Heidi Heini has averaged six points and 3.6 assists. Junior Teri Fasching leads the team in steals with a 3.7 average and junior forward Heather Freeman is second in scoring (11.9) and rebounding (8.0).

"This is the most balanced team I've ever had," Coach James Roach said. "It's been exciting to watch them come together as a team."

Not ready to pack yet: The St. Bonaventure boys' basketball team reached the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year and has won at least one postseason game for the third year in a row.

But Santa Clara knocked the Seraphs out of the playoffs with a convincing 77-53 victory in the second round.

Coach Marc Groff said he was pleased with his team's success, but worries that his program may never be good enough to compete with the likes of Santa Clara.

"I've finally come to the conclusion that I don't like the new playoff format," Groff said. "I don't blame Santa Clara for competing in 2-A Division. But we need a few more athletes to compete with teams like that. We're a 1-A team competing in a division that's above our heads."

Twist of fate: Teresa Palmisano, a former Buena High player who leads the Cal women's basketball team in scoring and rebounding, is expected to miss another week because of a badly sprained ankle.

Palmisano, who twisted her ankle in a recent game against Arizona State, is averaging 15.8 points and 8.9 rebounds a game. The 6-1 forward is shooting 52.3% from the field and has converted 30 of 42 free throws (71.4%).

Masters to meet on the mat: Robbie Cook and Tony Flores of Rio Mesa High and Delfino Ochoa of Hueneme earned Southern Section 3-A Division wrestling titles Saturday at West Torrance High.

Cook won the 132-pound class, Flores won at 191 and Ochoa was the champion at 119.

Each qualify for the Southern Section Masters Meet on Friday and Saturday at Fountain Valley High. Also qualifying were Ventura's Dana McCown (126) and John Atherton (98), Oxnard's Sual Juarez (105) and Buena's Chad Pisors (145).

Dos Pueblos won the 3-A team championship; Rio Mesa was third.

Leaping in the right direction: Chris Royers, a 6-4 freshman center for the Ventura College women's basketball team, averaged 15.5 rebounds this season to lead the Western State Conference. Royers is also one of the main reasons the Lady Pirates had the No. 2-ranked offense in the WSC.

"She really is kind of awkward and gangly, but she has progressed a lot from where she started this season," Coach George Valenzuela said.

Ventura finished 19-10, 8-5 in the WSC.

Ralph Nichols contributed to this notebook.

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