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Notebook /Sean Waters : Camarillo Takes Imitation Too Far

When Coach Jack Willard took over the girls’ basketball team at Camarillo High three years ago, he tried to emulate Buena’s program.

“When I started this program, the team had been struggling,” Willard said. “I wanted them to play and look like the best. We tried to run the same drills as Buena.

“I even bought uniforms that look like Buena’s because we have the same color scheme. When we didn’t make the playoffs, I took everyone to see Buena play.”

Camarillo may have taken the imitation to an extreme, however. The Scorpions, who won 20 games for the first time, lost in the Southern Section semifinals--as did Buena.

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“I think our team resembles Buena more than past Camarillo teams,” Willard said. “We haven’t won a championship, but the players were convinced they could do it. We’re thinking like winners and that’s what I wanted.”

Record update: At Camarillo, when it comes to school-record setters for girls’ basketball you need to know just two names--Nicole Victoria and Angie Long.

Victoria, a 5-6 junior guard, has set nine records, including points in a season (548), points in a career (1,334), field goals in a season (202), assists in a season (108) and steals in a season (106).

Long, a 5-9 senior, established 11 school records, including points in a game (34), free throws made in a season (142), consecutive free throws made (11) and rebounds in a season (262).

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Three-point gamble: Buena boys’ basketball Coach Glen Hannah said he’s a bit of a gambler, but a long shot he picked Friday night came up short.

The Bulldogs were trailing Capistrano Valley, 71-69, in a Southern Section 5-A playoff game when Hannah elected to go for the lead. He instructed Jeff Oliver to take a three-point shot with about 1 1/2 minutes left.

Oliver’s attempt was close, bouncing in and out of the basket. Capistrano Valley got the rebound and proceeded to outscore Buena, 13-2, down the stretch for a 84-71 victory.

“I like to gamble,” Hannah said. “I wanted to put them in a hole. I called it earlier in the game and it worked.”

It wasn’t surprising that Hannah selected Oliver since the senior set a school record by sinking 79 three-point shots.

“He was open and he shot it well,” Hannah said. “It just didn’t go in.”

Schwan contributions: Kurt Schwan, Westlake’s center who was named the Marmonte League’s most valuable player, finished the season averaging with 21 points and 11.1 rebounds, both team-highs.

In fact, no other Warrior finished averaging double figures in scoring. Mike Waggoner was closest with 8.3 points a game.

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Schwan made 55% of his field-goal attempts and 73% of his free throws.

Schwan, who will attend Weber State, also led the Warriors with 45 steals.

Another California trembler: Rick Pearn, a transfer from Canada, made his first appearance as a pitcher for Ventura High in an intrasquad scrimmage Tuesday.

“He throws pretty hard,” Ventura Coach Dan Smith said. “I let him pitch in the scrimmage and his knees were shaking. I asked him why and he said, ‘Coach I’ve never pitched in California.’ ”

Smith said he could use all the help he can get. Every starter on last year’s 4-A semifinalist has graduated, including all-Southern Section selections Steve Dailey, Darrell McMillin and David Eggert.

Wrestling with success: Delfino Ochoa will try to become the first wrestler from Hueneme to win a state wrestling title in this weekend’s meet at the University of the Pacific in Stockton.

Ochoa, who competes in the 119-pound division, improved his record to 47-1 after winning the Master’s Meet on Saturday at Fountain Valley High. Ochoa defeated Nogales’ Jeff Maes, 3-1, in the semifinals and Eric Ramos of El Rancho, 10-3, in the championship. Maes placed third in the state last year in the 122-pound class.

Hueneme Coach Kevin Callaway said Ochoa’s forte is takedowns.

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“He’s very aggressive,” Callaway said. “If he can’t ride them, he’ll let opponents get back up so he can take them down. I think he’s got a good shot at being our first state champion.”

Hueneme has had two wrestlers place in the state meet, according to Callaway. Willie Dillon finished second in 1978 and Bernie Neri took third in 1982.

Noel Juarez of Oxnard (105 pounds) and Robbie Cook of Rio Mesa (132) also won Masters titles.

The top six finishers at the Masters meet qualified for the state championships. Other qualifiers from Ventura County included Chris Kilbane of Newbury Park, Billy Hunter of Westlake, M. T. Merickel of Channel Islands and Tony Flores of Rio Mesa.

Merickel, who placed third at 126 pounds, is a Southern Section 4-A Division champion and two-time Marmonte League champion. “M.T. is the hardest working wrestler I’ve ever had in the 10 years I’ve been at Channel Islands,” Coach Rob Vieira said. “He had to cut off a lot of weight during season. He naturally weighs between 145 to 150 pounds.”

Recruiting time: Moorpark College (16-15), which was eliminated by Compton College on Saturday in the first round of the Southern California regional basketball tournament, has two sophomores--Alex Porter and Steve Murphy--who hope to be recruited by a Division II college.

“At this time, I don’t see them going Division I,” Coach Al Nordquist said. “They will probably play for a good, solid NAIA or Division III college.”

Moorpark, the 22nd-seeded team in the Southern California regional playoffs, made only 19 of 51 shots from the field and committed 13 turnovers in losing, 67-49, to Compton.

Freshman Roger Thomas scored a career-high 22 points to lead Moorpark, which trailed from the outset.

“We played hard but we just could not hit the shots we needed,” Nordquist said. “We have been less gifted as far as talent all year long, but we have played smart.”

Fifth-seeded Ventura (27-5) did not begin its state title quest until this week after drawing a first-round bye. The Pirates played host to Rancho Santiago, the 12th-seeded team, Wednesday. Results of the game were unavailable at press time.

Good times: The best is yet to come for Coach Tuck Mason of the Ventura College men’s and women’s track teams.

The Ventura men’s team won its first Western State Conference meet last week without its top high jumper, Reggie Betton, who also plays on the basketball team.

“It’s kind of early to tell right now, but I think we have a real chance to win conference if everybody stays healthy,” said Mason, who is in his 12th season.

The Pirates should be strong in the high jump with Betton sophomore Mike Bryant.

Bryant sat out last season because with eligibility problems after winning the Southern California Decathlon Championships as a freshman. Ventura will get its first test Saturday when it competes in the Santa Monica invitational.

Staff writer Ralph Nichols contributed to this notebook.


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