Favorites Are Fitting Into Roles Perfectly

While the opening two weeks of Orange Empire Conference basketball play have offered some exciting moments, they have had predictable results.

On the men's side: Saddleback (17-3) and Riverside (20-2) were the favorites and have each won its first four games.

In fact, Riverside has won 14 in a row and Saddleback's winning streak stands at 11.

The Tigers and Gauchos, who meet for the first time Jan. 25 at Riverside, already have built a two-game lead over Rancho Santiago (14-6), Irvine Valley (14-8) and Orange Coast (10-10). All three are 2-2.

Cypress (14-9) and Golden West (7-13) are 1-3 and Fullerton (9-12) is 0-4.

The two conference victories by Orange Coast match the total the Pirates have had each of the past two seasons. Orange Coast was 2-12 in 1993 and 1994.

The Pirates are getting a strong effort from returning all-conference forward Damion Morbley, who is averaging 20 points (third best in the conference) and 11 rebounds (second best).

Fullerton forward Marcus Austin has quietly become the conference's leading scorer (23.3 points). Riverside's Ronald Kenan (20.2) is third.

Keon Clark, a 6-foot-11 center at Irvine Valley, leads in rebounding (14.3). Morbley is second and Austin (10.1) third.

In the women's race: Golden West, which has won five consecutive titles and is the clear favorite this season, has established a strong hold on first place. The Rustlers (19-4) are 4-0 and already have beaten second-place Cypress (17-7, 3-1).

Riverside (7-9, 1-2), Orange Coast (15-8, 1-2), Saddleback (15-8, 1-2), and Fullerton (11-11, 1-2) are tied for third and Rancho Santiago (8-10, 0-4) is seventh.

Cypress' Sara Works, a 6-foot-2 center from Savanna, is leading the conference in scoring (28.6) and is second in rebounding (11.1). Works already has set the Cypress single-season and career scoring marks this season.

Julie Murdent, a forward at Golden West, is second in scoring (21.3) and seventh in rebounding (8.9).

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Football signings: Josh Micklos, a defensive lineman at Fullerton, has signed to attend Nevada.

Micklos, from Sunny Hills High, was an honorable mention J.C. Grid-Wire All-American and an All-Mission Conference selection.

He was in on 54 tackles, including 6.5 sacks. He also caused three fumbles and deflected three passes. Micklos is the second Orange County player to sign with Nevada. He joins Rancho Santiago tight end Casey Shine, who signed last month.

Tom Mather, a defensive back at Orange Coast, has signed with Wayne State in Nebraska. Mather had 48 tackles last season, fifth best on the team.

He is the younger brother of Todd Mather, who was a quarterback at OCC before signing with Tennessee Martin.

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Scott Pickler, the Cypress baseball coach the last 10 seasons, was selected the 1994 community college coach of year by the American Baseball Coaches Assn.

Pickler, who led the Chargers to the State title, received the award in Chicago last weekend.

Cypress set a single-season school record for victories with 44 last season. Cypress beat Rancho Santiago and Coach Don Sneddon twice on the last day of the season to win the State title.

Sneddon had won the same award in 1993, when he led the Dons to the State title.

It was the second State title for Pickler and Cypress, which also won the title in 1991. Pickler, who also coached at Loara High School, has a career record of 302-152 at Cypress.

Notes

Kurt Clemens, an assistant offensive line coach at Golden West the last seven years, plans to fill a similar role at OCC next season. The move must first be approved by the Coast Community College District Board of Trustees at an upcoming meeting. Clemens played at OCC for two years (1969-70) then transferred to California . . . Four members of the Saddleback track and field program have moved on four-year colleges. Adrian Spikes-Brown, a sprinter and hurdler, is at Kansas State. Ryan Crane, also a hurdler, has transferred to Redlands. Darlene Pruitt, a distance runner, is at Southern California College and Aymee Robles, a middle distance runner, has transferred to UC Irvine.

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