PIRATE MANIA: Chalk up another big victory...

PIRATE MANIA: Chalk up another big victory for the Ventura College Pirates as they roll toward the state community college basketball finals. . . . The men’s team fricasseed Fresno City College Thursday night by a score of 95-80 in the quarterfinals of the Final Eight tournament at UC Irvine’s Bren Events Center. . . . The Pirates--a young team with 10 freshmen and only three sophomores--have played in every state championship since 1992. If their winning streak holds, they appear in prime position to capture the title again for the first time since 1987.

MOVIN’ ON: Wrapping up a weeklong area visit, Sister Madonna Buder, also known as “The Running Nun,” will appear at Saturday’s Fillmore-Piru Youth Festival. . . . The Seattle sister is known for both her inspirational speeches and her athletic skill. At 64, she’s a three-time world champion triathlete who completed Sunday’s Los Angeles Marathon. “She’s very motivational,” said Jim Higgins of Fillmore’s St. Francis of Assisi Church. “She allows people to see they can do anything they dream.”

FASHION STATEMENT: He may not fancy himself a rebel and certainly not a trailblazer, but 14-year-old John Spindler, a soft-spoken kid who likes baseball and good grades, has sure shaken things up in Simi Valley (B5). . . . His insistence on wearing his favorite T-shirt to school led to a showdown with the district. And with the backing of the ACLU, Spindler prevailed: The district has changed its student dress code.

FLUFFY BUT DANGEROUS: Sure, they’re cute, but Patagonia’s stuffed penguins can also be hazardous (B1). . . . So the Ventura-based company is voluntarily recalling 3,000 Penguinos in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission. Seems the plastic eyes on the toys may detach--creating a choking peril for young children. Though no injuries have been reported, Patagonia will offer a full refund and a $25 gift certificate.