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Come Rain or Shine, Cosby Tries to Weather Sore Knee

Rain has come at a bad time for Jessica Cosby.

The Cleveland High forward aggravated her injured right knee two weeks ago in the Cavaliers’ Northwest Valley Conference opener against El Camino Real, and she hurt it again two days later against Taft.

Cosby sat out two games last week and is questionable when Cleveland (8-6, 1-3 in conference play), struggling to stay in contention for the North Valley League title, plays first-place Birmingham (9-6, 2-2) at 4 p.m. today.

“Because it’s so cold now, [her knee] hurts more,” Coach KimBerly Kelly said.

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Without Cosby, a 5-foot-8 junior who is averaging 22.5 points and 11.3 rebounds, Cleveland could have matchup problems against Siosi Tuli and Ofa Mailangi, 6-foot post players for Birmingham who average a combined 15 rebounds.

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‘We’ve got to be seven points better than we were last time and hold them to the same amount of points.”

So said Coach Dave Murphy of Simi Valley when asked what the second-place Pioneers need to do to defeat first-place Moorpark in a Marmonte League showdown at Moorpark at 7 tonight.

Moorpark (17-1, 6-0), the No. 3-ranked team in The Times’ regional poll, beat No. 6 Simi Valley, 55-49, in a league opener on Jan. 4, but Murphy says the Pioneers (16-4, 5-1) have improved.

“We’re playing pretty good defense,” Murphy said. “We weren’t playing bad defense then, but I think we’re playing better now. We’ve held our opponents to less than 40 points in each of the last three games.”

Pepperdine-bound Damaris Hinojosa of Moorpark will be the focus of Simi Valley’s defense. She scored 41 points in a 59-53 victory over Royal on Friday and is averaging 25.8 points.

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Kelly Paige has rarely been an offensive threat during her four seasons on the Crescenta Valley varsity.

But that has changed in the last two weeks.

Paige, a 6-3 senior who had never scored more than 15 points in a game, is averaging 18.2 in her last four games.

She scored a career-high 22 points on Friday at Arcadia and had 20 points against powerhouse Buena on Jan. 16.

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“She’s come a long way,” Coach Damian Scribner said.

BOYS’ NOTES

West Valley League teams went 15-1 against their counterparts from the North Valley League. Now it’s time to see who will rise to the top in league play.

Chatsworth (12-3, 4-0) will host Kennedy (12-5, 4-0) at 4 p.m. today in the first West Valley showdown. It features an intriguing individual matchup of 6-6 Richard Harrison of Chatsworth against 6-6 Nana Gbewonyo of Kennedy.

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Coach Fluke Fluker of Chatsworth still isn’t satisfied with the way his team is playing.

“We haven’t played to our potential in any of our conference games,” he said. “We’ve addressed it as a coaching staff and team.

“Emotional defensive intensity. That’s the key.”

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Oak Park can move into a first-place tie with Carpinteria in the Tri-Valley League with a victory over the Warriors at 7:30 tonight.

The Eagles (8-10, 2-1) won three of the previous four league titles with a combined record of 29-3. But winning a championship this season will be more difficult based on Oak Park’s 59-49 overtime loss to St. Bonaventure and a 72-68 overtime victory over Bishop Diego.

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Camarillo (8-10, 1-2) will be shooting for its first three-game winning streak of the season when it plays at Hueneme (7-10, 2-1) in a Pacific View League game at 7 tonight.

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A Camarillo victory, combined with a Oxnard victory over Channel Islands, would create a three-way tie for second among the Scorpions, Hueneme and Channel Islands.

It would also convince Coach Mike Prewitt that Camarillo’s inconsistent play is over.

“There’s been no in between with us this season,” Prewitt said. “We’ve either been on top of the world or scraping the bottom of the barrel.”

Staff writers Paige A. Leech, John Ortega and Eric Sondheimer and correspondent Dave Desmond contributed to this notebook.

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