As far as Chicago reunions go, this would have been like seating Al Capone and Elliot Ness at the same table.
Here was Lester Neal, Ventura's star center who hails from Chicago, playing against Malcolm X College of Chicago in the semifinals of the Ventura College tournament Saturday night.
Ventura won, 89-86, to set up a title-game matchup against Oxnard, but it was hardly happy home week for Neal.
One of the reasons Chicago is known as the Windy City is because its residents tend to brag so much, and when the Malcolm X players started blowing some hot air Neal's way, he blew his top.
"A guy told me I was the worst thing to come out of Chicago," Neal said. "When he said that, I had to go berserk. How could you say something like that? That kind of hurt my feelings. I said, 'No, I ain't going for that.' "
Neal scored 17 points, 13 in the second half, grabbed nine rebounds had five steals, four assists and blocked three shots.
Neal is a product of Southside Dunbar High, whereas the Malcolm X guys are Westsiders.
"They ain't my homeboys, they're just from Chicago," Neal said. "They got off light tonight."
Ventura's Uba Satterfield led all scorers with 32 points, 20 in the first half. Jerry Dalton added 23 points for Ventura (5-1).
Oxnard (6-1) rebounded from a six-point second-half deficit to beat El Camino, 68-61, and avenge its only loss of the season. El Camino had beaten Oxnard, 70-58, in the Compton tournament.
"Our kids have been playing the heck out of the defense," said Remy McCarthy, who is off to his best start in three seasons at Oxnard. "I'm in a pretty good mood right now."
Shawn Talley, another Chicagoan, led Oxnard with 18 points. Tim Thomas added 15 points, 10 rebounds and six steals. Don Mitchell also scored 15.
Ventura and Oxnard will meet at 7:30 tonight for the championship.