Paraclete's Top Foes Get Garish Gift for Their Effort

Posting big numbers against the Paraclete boys' basketball team can have an ugly consequence: an unsightly T-shirt.

Paraclete basketball Coach Andy Gavel awards T-shirts to opposing players who score 20 or more points in victories over the Spirits. The shirts are lime green with pink neon lettering that reads, "I Got 20 When We Beat The 'Clete."

"They're not going to win any fashion awards, that's for sure," Gavel joked. "I think the fashion police would probably put me away if they ever saw (the shirts), but the kids love it."

Gavel said there are some advantages to the loud design: "Maybe people will stop going for 20 against us."

NO IDENTITY CRISIS

Lou Cvijanovich thought his young, untested Santa Clara team would struggle this season while trying to forge an identity.

Last year's senior-dominated lineup won the school's fourth consecutive division championship. Cvijanovich, in his 35th season as the Saints' coach, knew this year's group had talent. He was concerned they might be burdened by having to live up to their predecessors' standards.

He has been pleasantly surprised.

"This is not the tallest or the most talented group I've ever had, but they are battlers--they scratch for everything," Cvijanovich said of the Saints (8-2). "They execute well and are fundamentally sound. They've developed their own identity a lot faster than I thought they would."

Center Jess Pina (6-foot-2), the Saints' tallest starter, has provided strong interior defense, and guard Brian Clark (5-9) leads the team with a 17-point scoring average. "We're in a little trouble when we play people a lot bigger than us," Cvijanovich said, "but we can compete with anybody our own size."

TH-QUARTER BLUES

Highland (5-2, 1-2) is just one win shy of matching last year's total, but first-year Coach Tom Mahan cannot help but think about what might have been.

Last week, Highland lost to Golden League leaders Antelope Valley and Palmdale because of poor fourth-quarter production. In those two games, Highland was outscored, 46-15, in the final period.

Highland trailed Palmdale, 48-47, heading into the final period, but Palmdale's full-court press limited the Bulldogs to only eight more points and they lost, 65-55.

One day later against Antelope Valley, with the score tied, 39-39, after three quarters, the Antelopes reeled off 29 points--including 15 on free throws--to Highland's seven.

"We need to find some leadership in the fourth quarter," Mahan said.

NAME-DROPPING

By playing in the inaugural CIF/Reebok Bowl game last weekend, Bishop Amat (15-0) became the first team in the state since San Jose Oak Grove in 14 years to play 15 games in a season. Oak Grove won the Central Coast Section championship with a 14-1 record in 1978.

The offensive coordinator for Oak Grove was Green Bay Packer Coach Mike Holmgren.

Bishop Amat became the first team in the state to record 15 victories in a season.

STAYING ALIVE

Sylmar not only saved face by scoring twice in the fourth quarter of its 31-10 loss to Bishop Amat, it kept alive an impressive streak: The Spartans have not been held to fewer than 10 points in 42 games dating to 1989.

SIGNPOST AHEAD

Making a layup seems simple enough. Yet Crespi missed eight in a 76-55 loss to Hoover in the La Canada tournament.

"It was like we were in the twilight zone," Coach Paul Radenberg said.

Staff writers Steve Elling, Jeff Fletcher, Jason H. Reid and Paige A. Leech contributed to this notebook.

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