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Loss of Sanson Provides Another Test for Master’s

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First, The Master’s College basketball team dealt with the absence of Coach Mel Hankinson, who missed preseason practices and the first eight games with an infection of the colon. Now the Mustangs must carry on without starting forward Phil Sanson.

In a game last Saturday against Dominican College, Sanson, a 6-foot-7 senior, dived into the bleachers attempting to stop a ball from going out of bounds. He suffered a fractured larynx and underwent a life-saving tracheotomy.

Sanson, who was released from UC San Francisco Medical Center on Thursday, must wait a month for the swelling in his larynx to subside so a determination can be made if reconstructive surgery will restore his voice and enable him to breathe without a tracheotomy tube.

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Hankinson hopes his team reacts to Sanson’s absence like Colorado football players did in 1989 when their quarterback, Sal Aunese, was found to have terminal cancer.

“Sometimes a team rallies together around a player and sometimes he’s the piece of chemistry that made the team come along,” Hankinson said. “Phil is a very valuable player, a steady player. It’ll be interesting to see if someone can fill his shoes.”

Certainly the Mustangs’ reaction to the return of Hankinson was positive. They are 7-3 with Hankinson back on the bench, including four consecutive wins. The Master’s will play at Christian Heritage in El Cajon tonight.

TOUGH KID

Dave Ulloa took a few punches at the Hollywood Palladium in his 1 1/2-year amateur boxing career, but none as painful as a blow to the neck incurred in basketball practice. Ulloa, Cal Lutheran’s feisty point guard, suffered a fractured seventh vertebra and missed three games.

“That was worse than anything that ever happened in boxing,” said Ulloa, who returned to action Wednesday in CLU’s 78-74 win over La Verne. Among the bruises and blows Ulloa endured in the ring was a head butt that required several stitches. “When you get hit, it really dazes you,” Ulloa said.

His mother’s persuasiveness carried more weight than his 30-0 record, and Ulloa gave up the fight game last year. “She wanted me to concentrate more on school and basketball,” Ulloa said. “She always hated boxing.”

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Now the 5-foot-9 freshman from Hoover High believes basketball has become his better game. He is certainly the driving force behind the Kingsmen’s aggressive defense and their catalyst on the fast break.

In nine games, Ulloa has 35 steals and 30 assists and is averaging 10 points for CLU (9-3), the defending Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champion.

MATA-DETOUR

For a bright and shining moment, the Cal State Northridge women’s basketball team looked to be on the road to respectability.

The Matadors beat UC Irvine, 58-57, Dec. 29 to even their record at 4-4. Last year, the team finished 2-24. Since, the Matadors have lost six consecutive games, including back-to-back losses last week at Northeastern Illinois and Chicago State--both teams previously winless at 0-9.

In both games, CSUN led at halftime but shot 24% from the field in the second half. The team returned to California this week and lost to Santa Clara and Fresno State by a combined 55 points.

“We were not pleased when we left there,” Matador Coach Kim Chandler said. “We figured to come away from Chicago with some wins. It’s disappointing and frustrating for our players.”

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STATWATCH

Men’s basketball: Ventura defeated Bakersfield on Wednesday for its 23rd victory, marking the seventh season in a row the Pirates have won 23 or more. . . . Valley (5-13) has won five of its last eight after starting 0-10. . . . Antelope Valley (12-6) has five players averaging in double figures in scoring, led by Akili Carter (15.5).

Women’s basketball: Audrey McMurray of The Master’s is ranked No. 8 among NAIA District 3 leaders with a 15.6 scoring average. . . . Cal Lutheran’s Aimee Snider, a 5-foot-10 freshman from Salem, Ore., has scored in double figures in four consecutive games, for an 18.5-point average in that span. Snider, who also plays on the CLU volleyball team, averaged 9.5 rebounds during the four-game period . . . Shani Samuel of Pierce leads Western State Conference players in three-point shooting with a mark of 43.2%.

Glendale’s Terry Halstede, who is averaging 8.1 rebounds, has more offensive (58) than defensive rebounds (56). . . . Nicole Ellis of Ventura leads WSC players in field-goal (52.7%) and free-throw (77.4%) accuracy.

Swimming: Cal State Northridge freshman Heather Ballard won two events at the UC Irvine Invitational last weekend, the 400-yard individual medley (4:36.06) and the 1,650 freestyle (17:13.92). Ballard also teamed with Nicole Hudson, Denise Lamoureaux and Jill Ogden to win the 800 freestyle relay (7:57.43). Junior Marti Carlson posted the other victory for the Matadors, winning the 200 backstroke in 2:10.29.

The men’s team was led by Steve Hoffman, who took second in the 1,650 (16:45.32) and fourth in the 200 butterfly (2:01.11).

Staff writers Kennedy Cosgrove, Mike Hiserman, Theresa Munoz, and John Ortega contributed to this notebook.

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