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SIDELINES : Cross’ Pass Uplifting to Northridge but Cassidy Saw Downside

Compiled by Steve Elling

All down the Cal State Northridge bench, players high-fived and whooped it up. An assistant coach smiled broadly and pumped a fist.

All the while, Matador men’s basketball Coach Pete Cassidy never changed his stoic expression.

Near the end of the half Monday against Loyola Marymount, freshman guard Trenton Cross bypassed a breakaway layup and chose instead to underhand the ball off the backboard to the trailing Mike Dorsey, who dunked it with considerable verve.

Not exactly a play typical of a team coached by the conservative Cassidy, who stopped well short of endorsing Cross’ creativity even while acknowledging the emotional lift he provided the team.

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“It was an exciting play for the team and the fans,” Cassidy said. “Of course, it’s always exciting when it works out. If it doesn’t, Trenton is running a lot of lines tomorrow.”

Gray area: For more than a week, Northridge forward Eric Gray has been bothered by pain in an area just above his right ankle. Monday, X-rays revealed a stress fracture.

Gray said he will continue to play unless the pain becomes too great. So far, he seems better than ever.

The 6-foot-6 reserve has established season highs in Northridge’s last two games. He had 13 points against Seattle and led the Matadors with 18 against Loyola.

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“Maybe (the injury) has thrown my shooting back in line,” Gray said.

Perfect strangers: When Westlake and St. Francis highs decided last year to schedule a baseball scrimmage to open the 1995 season, it appeared to be routine. Most teams scrimmage on the Saturday before the opening week of the season.

However, developments last week have made the Feb. 25 matchup unique. Last Tuesday, St. Francis Coach Tim O’Neil resigned to take a scouting position with the Minnesota Twins. Later in the week, Westlake Coach Rich Herrera quit to concentrate on furthering his education.

“It’s kind of ironic, isn’t it?” O’Neil said. “This wasn’t what we had in mind when we got together for this thing.”

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Foul play: The Newbury Park boys’ basketball team finally received its new road uniforms, six weeks after the season started. When the uniforms first arrived, before the season, players realized the numbers on the front and back of some jerseys didn’t match.

The uniforms were returned to the manufacturer. Newbury Park wore its home uniforms in every game but not before Coach Steve Johnson thought about using the defective jerseys anyway.

“We thought maybe we could (be allowed) a few extra fouls,” he said.

Quotebook

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Hueneme High boys’ basketball Coach Howard Davis, after several of his fellow Channel League coaches claimed they were not surprised to hear that Hueneme snapped Santa Barbara’s 15-game league winning streak last Friday: “Then why the . . . did they pick us last in the league?”

Honors

Cal State Northridge forward Michael Dorsey, a 6-foot-6 junior from Riverside, has been named the American West Conference men’s basketball player of the week. Dorsey averaged 18 points and seven rebounds to help Northridge split two games last week. He made 15 of 20 shots and sank six of eight free throws.

Cey hey: Former El Camino Real High standout Dan Cey, a shortstop at California, has been named to Baseball America’s list of the nation’s top 100 pro prospects. Cey, a sophomore, was ranked 74th.

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Stats

Maybe charity does begin at home.

Against Loyola on Monday, the Northridge men’s basketball team made 19 of 24 free throws compared to host Loyola’s 36 of 48.

A big discrepancy, but the margin ranks only third for the Matadors in terms of lopsidedness.

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In its game at New Mexico, Northridge made six of 11 free throws compared to the Lobos’ 36 of 47. At Xavier, Northridge made 16 of 23 free throws compared to the Musketeers’ 40 of 49.

Road kill: The Northridge men’s basketball team has lost all seven of its road games and has dropped 10 of its last 11 games away from home dating to last season.

Aw, nuts: Grant High senior forward Ronald Patterson tied a school record with 41 points in an 82-75 upset of Granada Hills last week. Patterson, who averages 23 points a game, scored 19 in the fourth quarter and made all nine of his free throws.

He made 13 of 22 shots. During a 13-0 run in an 80-second span of the second quarter--in which the Lancers turned a six-point deficit into an seven-point lead--Patterson scored 11 points. Oh, and he had six three-point baskets.

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“And he sold three bags of peanuts at halftime,” Grant Coach Howard Levine said.

Things to Do

Cross-town rivals Simi Valley and Royal highs meet in a Marmonte League girls’ basketball game Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Royal gym. The game marks the return to Royal of Tawnee Cooper. Cooper led Ventura County in scoring as a sophomore for the Highlanders last season before transferring to Simi Valley.

Contributing: Dave Desmond, Steve Elling, Jeff Fletcher, Dana Haddad, Mike Hiserman and John Ortega.

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