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SIDELINES : Ball in Conquistadores’ Court After Rebuilding Year

The El Camino Real High gymnasium will be open for business Monday, nearly a year after it was closed because of damage caused by the Northridge earthquake.

The gym has a new hardwood floor, roof and scoreboards, all of which were damaged in the temblor. The bleachers also required repair.

The Conquistadores have practiced on the school’s outdoor courts or at an undersized gym at a nearby junior high.

“It will be nice to practice in our own gym and to have a full court for a change,” said Neils Ludlow, the boys’ basketball coach. “It looks great.”

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One cosmetic change: The area between the three-point arc and the key is painted blue, and the rectangular foul lane was left in its natural hardwood--the opposite color scheme of the old court.

He’s undefeated: The Cal State Northridge men’s basketball team is 2-8, but one Matador player has a perfect record as a starter.

Eric Gray, a 6-foot-7 junior, has been in the starting lineup twice and Northridge has won both games.

After coming off the bench to score 10 points in a loss to Alabama-Birmingham, Gray replaced Ruben Oronoz as a starter and Northridge defeated Long Beach State, 64-58, and San Diego State, 73-68.

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“Two and oh, you can’t get better than that,” Gray said.

Ten days after the Long Beach victory, when Northridge took on Cincinnati, Gray was back in a reserve role as the Matadors started the five-game losing streak they will try to break Saturday night against Seattle.

“Ruben was struggling with his shooting so I started, then I struggled with my shooting so they went back to him,” Gray said.

Dialing it in: The girls’ basketball teams at Crescenta Valley High and Alemany have been ringing up the victories this season.

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That may be all that is ringing.

Crescenta Valley Coach Marc Ward’s telephone was knocked out of commission during the holiday break when a power pole outside his house was knocked down.

The phone number at Alemany was misprinted in the Southern Section’s directory of schools. The number connects callers with a landscaping company.

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Alemany High, the defending Southern Section Division II-A girls’ basketball champion, will face Division I-A runner-up Mater Dei in a nonleague game Saturday at 7 p.m. at Calvary Chapel High in Santa Ana.

Compiled by Steve Elling. Contributing: Kennedy Cosgrove, Dave Desmond and Mike Hiserman.


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