Should an Arizona-Indiana match-up materialize in the NCAA West regional championship basketball game Saturday, there is a good chance a former Valley-area high school standout will play a major role in the outcome.
For top-ranked Arizona, there is center Anthony Cook and guard Harvey Mason. For the eighth-ranked Hoosiers, there is guard Joe Hillman and forward Mark Robinson.
Cook, a senior from Van Nuys, and Hillman, a senior from Hoover, are starters. Mason, a junior from Crescenta Valley, and Robinson, a junior from Simi Valley, come off the bench.
Arizona (29-3) and Indiana (27-7) must both win tonight to advance to the regional final. Indiana will meet Seton Hall in a game that will be televised by CBS at 5 p.m. Arizona and Nevada Las Vegas will play immediately afterward.
Cook leads the Wildcats in rebounding with a 7.3 average. He is second on the team in scoring with a 17.7 average, behind only All-American forward Sean Elliott.
Mason, a Southern Section scoring champion with a 28.5 average in 1986, plays about 10 minutes a game as the fourth guard in a four-guard rotation. He is averaging 4.5 points.
For Indiana, Hillman, a two-year starter, is averaging 12.7 points, 3.9 assists and 3.5 rebounds.
Robinson has played in 28 of the Hoosiers’ 34 games, averaging 3.8 points and 2.6 rebounds. In two tournament games he has scored seven points and grabbed seven rebounds in 32 minutes.
Two-timing: A new NCAA rule that trimmed from 26 to 24 the allowable number of days on which tennis matches may be played and also eliminated eight scrimmage days prompted Occidental Coach Brian Newhall to schedule three double-match days.
A double-match day is similar to a doubleheader in baseball with one major difference: It entails playing a morning match against one school and an afternoon match against another.
So far, the format has worked well. All 14 members of the Occidental team have been able to play and the team has scheduled mostly weekend matches to avoid academic conflicts.
Sizzling Sisco: Steve Sisco, who plays second base for Moorpark College, abandoned any hope of being a power hitter after his first sample of college pitching.
“I’m a line-drive hitter now,” said Sisco, a former Thousand Oaks High standout. “The college pitching put an end to my power.”
Sisco, whose nine home runs was second best among high school players in Ventura County last season, has not been stifled by college pitching, however. He is batting .444 in Western State Conference play and has a 20-game hitting streak.
On Saturday, Sisco collected five hits, scored four runs and knocked in two as Moorpark defeated Valley College, 16-11.
A crowd of threes: Darin Furlong already has set a Moorpark single-season record with six triples. His most recent came against Valley on Saturday and broke Dave Patterson’s record of five set in 1979.
Dandy De: De Dow is on the same pace that earned her WSC Pitcher of the Year honors at Moorpark last season.
The sophomore right-hander is 10-3 and leads the team in complete games (12). She also has seven shutouts and an 0.65 earned-run average.
Class act: It may have been the only time Bill Kernen instructed one of his baseball players not to go to class.
At the end of last summer, Craig Clayton was preparing for a good night’s sleep before starting school the next day at Cypress College when he received a call from Kernen who was recruiting players for his first season as coach at Cal State Northridge.
“I had seen Craig at a tryout for an Orange County all-star team, but he was playing third base and I already had recruited a third baseman,” Kernen said. “But then I went to watch a Palomino tournament up north and he played the outfield and pitched.
“When I got back, I called him and asked him to put off going to class for a day so he could come look at the campus.”
Clayton arranged for his teachers at Cypress to hold his place in classes. There was no need. He ended up enrolling at Northridge and has become the Matadors leading hitter with a .347 average.
He also has two home runs and 12 runs batted in.
Staff writers Mike Hiserman, Ralph Nichols, Gary Klein and Sam Farmer contributed to this notebook.