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Visions of Repeating Dance in Dons’ Heads

The thought of repeating as state men’s basketball champions hasn’t been considered publicly by Rancho Santiago Coach Dana Pagett, but this season’s Dons might have the best chance of any team since Riverside repeated in 1966.

After 11 games, Rancho Santiago is 10-1 and is averaging 102.9 points while giving up 79.9. The Dons have scored 100 or more points eight times in 11 games. Their only setback has been a 95-92 overtime loss to Cerritos.

“We always stress defense,” Pagett said. “But we have had some pretty good offensive teams as well.”

All five starters--Erik Martin (20.9 points per game), Corie Blount (18), Brett Pagett (14.4), Vern Broadnax (12.5) and Glenn Greene (10.5)--are averaging in double figures.

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Blount, a 6-foot-10 forward, and Broadnax, a guard, are the only returning starters from last season’s team that finished 32-3. But Martin transferred from Texas Christian and Pagett, Dana’s son, came from UC Irvine. Martin, who is 6-feet-6, leads in rebounds with nine a game. Pagett is the assist leader at five.

Greene was a redshirt last season at Rancho Santiago and is from Mater Dei High School. Eric Kutas (7.2), Daryl Cole (6.2) and Elton Moore (5.6) lend support off the bench.

“Last year’s team had more experience together,” Dana Pagett said. “This is a little more of a make-shift team. But the guys are starting to accept their roles. To even be thought of in the same scope as last year’s team is nice.”

Basketball coaches always seem to find fault with the calls officials make, but in the Golden West Tournament last weekend, it was the lack of calls that drew the ire of some coaches.

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In Friday’s game between Cypress and Riverside, the teams played nearly 13 minutes before the first foul was called. Riverside’s Eric Dahl was called for holding with 7:03 left in the half. Cypress wasn’t called for its first foul until there was 4:13 left in the half.

The trend of few fouls continued for Cypress throughout the tournament.

In the first round, Cypress defeated San Diego Mesa, 78-69, and the teams combined for only 19 fouls. Mesa was called for 13 and Cypress 6.

In the 78-75 victory over Riverside, Cypress was called for nine fouls and the Tigers for 23. Cypress defeated Cerritos, 66-57, in the championship, and the Chargers were called for 18 fouls to Cerritos’ 27.

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There was plenty of hollering from the bench about the referees favoring Orange County teams, but there were also a couple of other factors. Cypress played a lot of zone defense, and also had big leads in all three games in the final minutes, forcing the other teams to foul.

Of course, fouling to try to get back into the game isn’t as useful this season as in the past. Now, once a team has 10 fouls, the opposition gets two shots instead of one-and-one.

In the Riverside Tournament, Golden West meets San Diego Mesa at 1 p.m. Wednesday and Fullerton plays East Los Angeles at 5 p.m. Wednesday. The tournament continues through Saturday.

Cypress takes on El Camino at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the first round of the Glendale Tournament.

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In the Pasadena Tournament, Rancho Santiago plays Rio Hondo at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Orange Coast has the week off and Saddleback plays a nonconference game against MiraCosta at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Community College Notes

In case you missed it, Coffeyville (Kan.) won the J.C. Grid-Wire national football title this season with an 11-0 record. Taft (8-1) knocked off Bakersfield, 34-40, in the Potato Bowl. Bakersfield (10-1), which was the top-ranked team most of the season, finished third. Orange Coast (8-3) finished 19th and Fullerton 23rd in the final top-30 poll. . . . The J.C. Grid-Wire also announced its Scholar/Athlete All-American team. OCC quarterback Greg Angelovic, Saddleback receiver Mike Cook and Fullerton linebacker Ward Van Pelt were on the first team. OCC tight end Derek Whiddon, Fullerton offensive lineman Craig Ritter and Golden West linebacker Kevin Ashworth made the honorable-mention team.

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