In winning 10 of its first 11 games, Thousand Oaks High established itself as a team rich in both talent and depth.
But the only thing deep about the Lancers on Friday night was the hole they dug themselves with a shovelful of shoddy play.
That, combined with Camarillo’s hustle and determination, resulted in a 96-76 Scorpion victory in a Marmonte League contest at Thousand Oaks.
Camarillo (8-2, 2-0) did not panic in the face of Thousand Oaks’ once-impressive defensive pressure and patiently worked the ball for high-percentage shots. The Scorpions finished 34 of 60 (57%) from the field, including 17 of 27 (63%) in the second half.
And one need look no further than the play of Camarillo forward John Freedman to understand the Scorpions’ successful approach. Freedman, a sophomore who earned his first varsity start, scored 12 points and combined with Fred Tepesano and Geoff Gordon to frustrate Thousand Oaks’ taller inside players.
“We figured we’d work as hard as we could on defense, and make them play our game,” Freedman said.
Camarillo’s hustling, physical defense helped limit Chris Loll, who entered the game averaging 27.1 points, to a season-low 14 and only two field goals. Loll also was hampered by early foul trouble and the flu, which had kept him in bed all day.
Thousand Oaks’ offense sputtered from the outset and the Lancers quickly resorted to hurried jump shots. They made only 22 of 59 (37%) from the field, including a nine-of-30 (30%) performance in the second half.
“Our kids played as hard as they could,” Camarillo Coach Mike Prewitt said. “They scored 48 on us during the second half the first time we played (an 84-78 Thousand Oaks win in the Ventura tournament), so we wanted to play hard until the final buzzer.”
Thousand Oaks (10-2, 1-1) used a 7-0 run to take a 23-16 lead with 1 minute 30 seconds left in the first quarter. But Camarillo responded with a more-impressive skein, outscoring Thousand Oaks, 17-0, during the next three minutes and taking a 33-23 lead it did not relinquish.
And, true to form for the Scorpions the entire game, almost everyone had a hand in the rally. Dave Nathaniel (16 points) buried lean-in jump shots, Freedman muscled his way toward baskets and rebounds underneath, and David Harbour, celebrating his 18th birthday, scored seven of his game-high 28 points.
“Camarillo was much more intense than we were,” Thousand Oaks Coach Ed Chevalier said.