Moorpark Squeezed by Ventura
For the most part this season, the Ventura College men’s basketball team has been known for its high-octane offense.
But one of the things that helps the Pirates score points in bunches is their tenacious defense that triggers a devastating transition game.
The Pirates didn’t manage one of their frequent 100-point efforts Saturday night, but their defense carried them to a 75-57 victory over the Raiders in a Western State Conference North Division game.
Ventura (24-0, 2-0 in division play), with a relentless pressing defense, forced Moorpark (16-8, 0-2) into 25 turnovers and turned a close game at halftime into another rout.
It was the third victory over the Raiders this season for Ventura, the state’s top-ranked team. One of those came in the championship game of the Ventura tournament in November and the other in the title game of the Moorpark tournament in December.
“We made too many mistakes to be in the game,” said Al Nordquist, Moorpark coach. “In the first half, we missed too many free throws and too many layups.”
The Raiders made five of nine free throws (55.5%) in the first half and shot 38.7% (12 of 31) from the floor. The shanked free throws and inside shots cost them a possible lead at the half and instead they trailed, 34-30.
Nordquist said his plan was to avoid getting into a running match with Ventura to keep the score low. It worked at times, but the Pirates often forced the issue and exploited Moorpark’s mistakes.
“It worked through most of the game,” Nordquist said. “We kept the score down. What we didn’t do was score on our end when we needed to.”
There were 50 fouls, 26 against Moorpark. Two Raiders, 6-foot-8 forward Paul Foster and point guard Jaime Jaquez, fouled out. Losing Foster with 10 minutes 9 seconds left hurt Moorpark.
“We wanted to go at the Fosters,” said Philip Mathews, Ventura coach. “In the first half, we didn’t do it. In the second half, we made a conscious effort to go after them.”
Paul Foster had seven points and nine rebounds. His twin, Nick, had 10 points and eight rebounds.
The Fosters helped Moorpark to an 8-0 lead, scoring the first six points. Nick had eight of his points in the first 20 minutes. But the Pirates pieced together three quick runs in the second half that systematically increased their lead.
Their last spurt was a 9-2 blitz that pushed a 59-46 lead to 68-49 with 3:42 remaining. Ventura’s Shannon Taylor had 15 points, nine of them on three three-point baskets. Gerald Zimmerman and Curtis Ganes each had 12 points.
David Fennell scored 12 for Moorpark.