SIMI VALLEY TOURNAMENT : Simi Valley Center Worth the Wait
The much-awaited debut of Simi Valley High center Pero Vasiljevic--and the Pioneers’ new gym--had to wait a while longer Tuesday night.
Tipoff between the Pioneers and Granada Hills in the first round of the Simi Valley tournament was delayed for almost 15 minutes, because the lights, turned off for pregame introductions, needed 15 minutes to reach full power.
But the 6-foot-9 exchange student from Australia quickly showed why he will be an impact player for Simi Valley.
Vasiljevic had 17 points, nine rebounds and six blocked shots as the Pioneers defeated the Highlanders, 69-61, in Simi Valley’s first game on campus in nearly two years.
The Pioneers’ gym was being repaired after it was severely damaged in the Northridge Earthquake in January of 1994. Work was finished Tuesday morning.
Vasiljevic had two emphatic blocked shots in the opening minutes of play, bringing the crowd to its feet. An alley-oop dunk quickly followed and a fan favorite was born.
He showed skill on the offensive end as well, gradually extending his range beyond the three-point line.
The Highlanders’ zone defense, designed to contain Vasiljevic, opened up three-point opportunities for Simi Valley’s three-guard offense.
Scott Blough scored 24 points, including six three pointers. Junior Tony Campanario added 18 points, hitting three from beyond the arc for Simi Valley (1-0).
“They really started collapsing on me in the third quarter,” Vasiljevic said. “But I wasn’t worried because we have great shooters.”
Vasiljevic’s presence in the middle forced Granada Hills (0-1) to shoot outside. The Highlanders kept close throughout the third quarter with six three-pointers but could only manage six points in the final period.
In other first round games at Simi Valley High:
Notre Dame 76, Palmdale 71--Chris Forde hit a 15-footer with 35 seconds left in overtime to put the Knights (1-0) ahead to stay.
Brett Henry, who scored 37 points, added three free throws in the final seconds to seal the victory. Henry had six three-pointers for Notre Dame.
Notre Dame played without starting forward Tim Anderson, who suffered a sprained ankle in practice Monday.
Santa Barbara 80, Littlerock 54--Mike Garrett scored 26 points as the Dons (1-0) built a double-digit lead by midway through the second quarter and pulled away.
Joshua Raheen scored 13 points for Littlerock (0-1) and Marquis Drain added 11.
Newbury Park 72, Chaminade 71--Brent Bush scored 13 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter as the Panthers (1-0) rebounded from a six-point deficit at the end of the third period.
Mike Bowers (11 points) made four free throws in the final minute to seal the victory.
Scott Long led Chaminade (0-1) with 17 points.