Based on pregame comments, Simi Valley High basketball Coach Dean Bradshaw seemed to have little inkling that his team was about to upset Fremont, ranked No. 2 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports, in the championship of the Simi Valley tournament Saturday.
Senior guard Gordon Stolla, a returning starter, was out with an ankle injury. And senior forward Danny Alexander, who had averaged 16 points during Simi Valley's first three games, showed up with a 103-degree fever.
Bradshaw watched Fremont's pregame warm-ups in which several Pathfinders soared high above the rim, then glanced at his team as it entered the gymnasium. "We look like a JV team compared to them," he said to a reporter. "Can we suit you up?"
Yet Simi Valley played near-flawless basketball and hustled to a 57-56 victory when Alexander hit both ends of a one and one with seven seconds left. As Pioneer fans spilled onto the court, one Fremont assistant left the gym shaking his head. "This place is a pit, man," he said.
In the coaches' office 15 minutes after the game, Bradshaw beamed. "Unbelievable. Can you believe it?" he asked his son Ryan, who shrugged. "Who would have ever guessed it?"
Apparently not Bradshaw.
When Ira Sollod took over as Royal basketball coach, he soon discovered that former Coach Joe Malkinson had left the cupboard bare when he departed for the Bay Area.
The lone returning starter was 6-foot-4 guard Ryan Fien, the heralded quarterback who also shot 35% from three-point range as a starter last season. But Fien's emergence as a highly sought-after NCAA Division I football prospect has forced him to hang up his high-tops.
"With all the trips he's taking for football, he'd miss about five weekends in a row," Sollod said. "Recruiters are over at his house every night, so he's just going to miss too much basketball. Without him, we don't have a lot coming back and are pretty inexperienced. But I think we'll be competitive throughout (Marmonte) league play."
Royal is 1-3.
I'LL RAISE YOU. . . .
Wonder how popular Santa Clara basketball Coach Lou Cvijanovich is in Ventura County?
It seems that Cvijanovich and Taft Coach Jim Woodard were talking at a Pepperdine clinic recently when the subject of team fund-raisers came up. Woodard said that Taft had raised $1,400 and asked Cvijanovich how his booster club had made out.
Replied Cvijanovich: "We made $86,000."
Although John Harbour resigned as Camarillo's basketball coach before last season and son David Harbour--Camarillo's all-time leading scorer--took his shooting skills to Stanford after the season, the Harbour era lives on in Camarillo.
Jimmy Harbour, David's younger brother, is a 6-2 junior who is the Scorpions' leading scorer at 11 points a game. He is the same size as David but shoots right-handed; David is left-handed.
"He is a very good player, but it's not fair to compare him to David," Coach Mike Prewitt said. "He's pretty aggressive, jumps real well, and he works hard in the weight room."
After Jimmy graduates in 1993, it is likely that another Harbour will step in. Matt Harbour is a talented freshman who might join the varsity in two seasons, if not sooner. There could be a Harbour on Camarillo's roster from 1988 through 1995.
Hueneme junior guard Tony Smith, the team's leading scorer at 18 points a game last season, was suspended for two games because he violated a team rule. Smith sat out Hueneme's 70-63 loss to Bishop Amat on Saturday and also missed Hueneme's 73-49 loss to Vermont, Australia, in the first round of the Thousand Oaks tournament Monday.
"He violated a team rule, and that's all I can say," Hueneme Coach Howard Davis said.
Davis said Smith will return tonight when Hueneme plays a consolation game of the Thousand Oaks tournament.
When the Canyon basketball team squared off with Hart on Saturday in the third-place game of the Saugus tournament, Cowboy Coach Greg Hayes used his bench players more than he had planned.
Sophomore Chad Phillips, the team's sixth man, had suffered an ankle injury in the previous game that could sideline him as long as four weeks.
Thus handicapped, Hayes gambled on some unproven players. He took 6-6 junior center Mike Beach, a player who had been cut as a sophomore, and played him 12 minutes. He also placed 6-4 senior Pat Wolford, a player who had been cut as a freshman, sophomore and junior, into the lineup. In addition, Hayes took sophomore David Pratcher, an offensive lineman from the football team, and gave him a crash course in the offense before the game, Pratcher's first at the varsity level.
"We said to ourselves, 'Let's develop these guys,' " Hayes said. "Let's give these guys a chance in our rotation."
A chance well taken. Canyon defeated Hart, 73-71, to win third place in the tournament.
JUST WIN ONE BABY
Sylmar's basketball team finished 1-21 last season, but that didn't stop first-year Coach Alan Shaw from shooting for the stars when setting preseason goals.
Shaw, a player at Duke in the early 1970s, wanted the Spartans to finish with a winning record. But, a few losses have persuaded him to alter his goal. "We're shifting our goals now that we've been beaten by 30 and 40 points. Now we just want to win our first game," Shaw said.
Sylmar (0-3, 0-2 in Valley Pac-8 play) has lost to Verdugo Hills (83-50), Monroe (86-47) and Van Nuys (64-56).
Canoga Park has paid the $400 entry fee for a basketball tournament in Las Vegas scheduled for Dec. 26, but the Hunters are having trouble raising additional funds to finance the trip. The Hunter Booster Club has helped raise $1,000, but the team still needs an additional $1,500 for plane flights, transportation, food and lodging. Canoga Park Coach Jeff Davis said the Hunters might have to withdraw from the tournament.
"I don't know how I'm going to raise that kind of money in a week," he said.
THIRD TIME UNLUCKY
If Kennedy punter Jeremy Deach felt as though the world revolved around him during last week's 26-6 loss to Banning in the City Section 4-A Division semifinals, he had good reason.
Three times Deach was drilled during the game, and twice it worked to Kennedy's advantage.
In the second quarter of a scoreless game, Banning drew a roughing penalty on fourth and 11 at the Kennedy 37. Deach was knocked down after booting the ball away. Kennedy drove downfield and seemed poised to score, but Deach missed on a 41-yard field-goal attempt.
With 4 minutes 21 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Deach's punt from the Kennedy 22 was partially blocked. The ball flew end over end downfield and struck the back of a member of Banning's return team. A scramble ensued and Kennedy recovered at its 37. Referees gave Kennedy possession of the ball and a first down.
Third time was not a charm for Deach, however. Kennedy's run of luck on the punts ended later in the same drive. On fourth and 19 from the Kennedy 40, the ball was snapped over Deach's head and he was buried at the 11. Two plays later, Shayzar Hawkins scored on an eight-yard run to give Banning a 13-0 lead with 11:53 remaining.
Ryan Connors will graduate, but Hart will continue to operate the run-and-shoot offense next season, Coach Mike Herrington said.
Pulling the trigger will be Davis Delmatoff, a wide receiver this season who, Herrington said, will surprise some people with his passing.
"He's got the job," Herrington said. "Anyone who transfers in will have to be pretty good. He's gonna step right into Ryan's shoes and do a really good job."
Delmatoff served as Connors' backup this season, mostly in the final minutes of blowouts. He replaced an injured Connors against Saugus and completed 11 of 21 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns in a little more than half.
He also will inherit some good receivers. Tailback Deriek Charles, who led regional players with 85 receptions, Aron Miyata (51 catches) and Jared Halverson (33) will return as seniors.
NO JUST DESSERTS
Losing to top-seeded Dorsey, 40-13, in a City 4-A semifinal last week prompted tears and disappointment from several Spartans, but not from Sylmar Coach Jeff Engilman.
"My guys have had a great season. They have nothing to hang their heads about. I'm real proud of these guys," Engilman said. "People thought we weren't any good, and (that) we couldn't compete at the 4-A level. They showed them that we could."
The Spartans went undefeated in Valley Pac-8 Conference play and finished 10-2, but for Sylmar tailback Tobaise Brookins, getting to the semifinals wasn't enough.
"It's like a plain cake," Brookins said. "There's no icing on it and cake needs icing."
It has not been a year to remember for Southern Section Commissioner Stan Thomas in the wake of the controversy surrounding Canyon football Coach Harry Welch. Thomas lost a sparring match last week with the organizers of an area high school volleyball all-star match.
Notre Dame Coach Ann McClung said Thomas told her last week that any seniors playing in an all-star volleyball tournament Saturday at Royal would lose their eligibility for any other sport. McClung was quick to point out that Southern Section rules allow such a competition and Thomas went into quick retreat.
On the court, the two matches were artistic successes. In the large schools' match, McClung's East team rallied for a 12-15, 15-11, 16-14, 15-13 win behind the outstanding all-around play of Chatsworth's Jody Paperno. Paperno shared most-valuable-player honors with the West's Stacy Kaufmann of Royal.
Amy Petrovic of Harvard-Westlake helped the West dominate the East in the small schools' game, 15-2, 15-5, 15-7. Traycie Kusal of Van Nuys was the most valuable player for the East.
David Coulson, Vince Kowalick and staff writers Steve Elling, Paige A. Leech, Brian Murphy and Jeff Riley contributed to this notebook.