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SoCalHoops High School News

CIF State Finals Division V Game Preview:
Oxnard Santa Clara v. Calvary Temple--(March 18, 1999)

State Championship Game--Division V
4:15 p.m., Friday, March 19 - Arco Arena
Sacramento California

Two-time State Champion Santa Clara returns to the Finals for the first time since 1991, when they.  The Saints, coached by legendary Lou Cvijanovich who is in his 41st season, won back-to-back titles in 1989-90 in Division IV.   Since then, the school has been suffering from gradually shrinking enrollment, and now Santa Clara is in Division V.  "Shrinking" is not perhaps the best word though to use for the Saints, who have Nick Jones and B.J. Ward, two top Division I college signees, both of whom will play for UCSB next season.  Santa Clara was the top seed in the SoCal Regionals and they set a Division V scoring record in the Regional Finals, exploding for a 93-55 win over Christian El Cajon. In that game, the Saints were paced by the play of Nick Jones who averaged 22 points per game coming into the playoffs, and who is now averaging close to 26 ppg.  In the final he scored 27 points while B.J. Ward had 24 points. Santa Clara is now 29-7 on the season, and they've played most of the bigger teams, including many D-I teams early in the season, barely losing to Simi Valley.

Modesto Calvary Temple makes it's first ever trip to the Finals, coming into the game as the No 3 seed in the NorCal Regionals.  They too are a high-powered, high-octane team with an explosive offensive capability, led by Nick Tabari who enters the game averaging 27.8 ppg and 7.3 rebounds.  Several other Warriors are big-time scoring threats, including Chris Armstrong who is averaging 14.3 ppg and 8.1 rpg, Eric Leong with 18.2 ppg and 7.2 rpg, Earl Jackson with a 17.6 ppg average   and 8.3 rebounds a game, and David Paris who, at 6'-6" presents as big a post player as anyone the Saints can muster, and he's scoring 11.2 ppg and pulling down 13.3 rebounds, not bad for a freshman. In the first round NorCal regional game, Calvary Temple scored 97 points over Sac-Joaquin Delta and then defeated Hoopa Valley, 98-81, in the NorCal finals. In the final, guard Nick Tabari had a game-high 31 points, while Eric Leong hit for 23 points and David Paris finished with 17.

Here's a closer look at the lineups:

Modesto Calvary Temple Warriors Oxnard Santa Clara Saints
00 Kevin Bonner (5'-1" So. G)
3 Chris Armstrong (6'-4" Jr. G)
4 Earl Jackson (6'-5" Jr. F)
5 Nick Tabari (6'-2" Jr. G)
10 Jason Berberich (6'-0" So. F)
12 Eric Leong (6'-1" Jr. G)
20 Miles Scott (5'-6" Fr. G)
21 David Paris (6'-6" Fr. C)
22 Will Walton (5'-11" Fr. G)
25 Matt Quillen (6'-0" Sr. F)
33 Bobby Cole II (6'-3" Fr. F)
42 Carl Gibbs (6'-0" So. F)
50  Mike Cundari (5'-11" Sr. F)
53 Adrian Gooden (6-5" Sr. C)
4 Tim Scott (5'-9" Sr. G)
11 Albert Soria (5'-11" So. G)
12 Chris Post (5'-10" Jr. G)
15 Michael Madrigal (6'-2" Sr. F)
21 Mel Angell (6'-0" Sr. G)
22 Anthony Camper (5'-10" Jr. G)
24 Jason Angell (5'-10" Jr. G)
30 Eric Castaniero (6'-2" Jr. F)
33 Adrian Santana (5'-10" Fr. G)
35 B.J. Ward (6'-1" Sr. G)
40 James Chung (6'-3" Sr. F/C)
41 Nick Jones (6'-4" Sr. F)
42 David Ramirez (6'-1" So. F)
43 Stefan Cvijanovich (6'-3" So. F)
44 Terrance Dotsy (6'-4" Sr. C/F)
45 Earl Hall (6'-3" Jr. C)

Today's LA Times featured a nice, informative piece about the Warriors, and it also devoted some time to the subject that has confronted Calvary Temple all year:  The number of transfers they received from Modesto Christian.   Here are some excerpts from the Times' article from today's Valley Edition:

This school obviously wants to get very good, very fast.   And with an about-face almost overnight, Modesto Calvary Temple Christian High has gone from doormat to red carpet in its second season of boys' basketball.  Calvary Temple's success is among the worst-kept secrets in town.  Thanks partly to three talented transfers from Modesto Christian and a $4 1/2-million recreation complex, Calvary Temple (32-5) will play Santa Clara (29-3) for the Division V state championship on Friday at Arco Arena in Sacramento. 

The Rev. Glen Berteau, the administrator with the strongest voice at the school, knew what he wanted to build when he arrived five years ago from Baton Rouge, La.  A former running back at Louisiana Tech, Berteau didn't wait to make his mark at Calvary Temple, which at the time only included schooling from kindergarten to eighth grade.  The high school was added four years ago--this is the first year with seniors at Calvary Temple--and with it came plans for the family life center, a state-of-the-art fitness complex, a basketball court, racquetball courts and nine classrooms.  The center has been more than an attraction.  "It's kind of like, build it and they will come," Berteau said. "It's been really exciting to see what the Lord has done here and how the building has gone up." 

The complex is only part of the story at Calvary Temple. The athletes and the coach are the rest.  Juniors Nick Tabari, Eric Leong and Chris Armstrong were part of high-caliber teams at Modesto Christian, a small school a few miles from Calvary Temple.  Modesto Christian won the Division V state title in 1997 when the three were freshmen. Armstrong played on the junior varsity that season.  Last season, after moving to Division IV, the Crusaders lost by a point in the state semifinals.  Then all the movement began. 

Leong, Tabari and Armstrong transferred to Calvary Temple and Bobby Cole, a former assistant at Modesto Christian, was hired to coach the Warriors.   Leong, a 6-foot-1 guard, said his transfer was academically related. "I didn't feel I was being prepared for college at Modesto Christian," said Leong, who has a 4.0 grade-point average.  "It was kind of easy for me. It wasn't really about going to play basketball at a different school. We all had different reasons. Mine was for academic reasons."  Tabari, the most talented of the three with a 27.9 scoring average, had his own reasons. Racial tensions, he said, played a part.  He reportedly was upset by racially insensitive graffiti that was sprayed on a locker.  "It wasn't nothing that was really out and open," Tabari said. "It was just a couple bad apples in the bunch. You're always going to encounter a little bit of that no matter where you go. It's true."  Cole, who has coached at several high schools, wants to concentrate on the future. The scrutiny and stories of the season--the transfers, the big-time gym complex--are, in his mind, part of the past.  "I'd rather we just talk about where we're at right now," Cole said. "I think the past is another avenue. But these boys are not just truly basketball players. They carry a very good grade-point average."

Love it or leave it, Calvary Temple, with an enrollment of 105 high-school students, is playing for keeps. It's a new feeling after finishing 3-21 last season.  "We've established ourselves as a legitimate, strong, very athletic, exciting, fun-to-watch basketball team," Berteau said. "This is really our year to make a statement and say that we're here and we hope to be here [in the future].  "We see ourselves being in good shape for years."

Santa Clara for it's part, is more than just Jones and Ward.   Last Saturday we ran excerpts from yet another profile in one of the local papers, describing Mel Angell, Anthony Camper and Terrance Dotsy, who are the guys who make it look so easy for Jones and Ward. Apparently all three of them were sick earlier this week with the flu, and the Daily News reported that they missed their Monday practices as all were home in bed.  We don't know what kind of shape they'll be in for tomorrow's game, but you can bet that nothing, not even the flu is going to keep these guys away.

Center Terrance Dotsy and guards Anthony Camper and Mel Angell might not always score in double figures, but their contributions are invaluable to Santa Clara  As Price Coach Michael Lynch said after Santa Clara defeated his team the SoCal Regional state quarterfinal: "You don't win the way they've been winning with just two players. It's more than just those two."

Dotsy is the most difficult to overlook, and he's a basketball player in a football player's body. He's agile, and has a great spin move, is the only low post player on the team, and he's helped the Saints open the game up as with the attention defenses pay him, it makes it easier for the guards on the perimeter to bomb them in from three point range. We'd expect to see him match up against  David Paris, and we'll see just what the freshman can throw at him. Anthony Camper, who stands 5-10 in his basketball shoes, thinks like a power forward, and he loves to get inside and bang for the rebounds. Camper assessed his role on the team :"[Opponents] are always going to be chasing Nick and B.J.," he said. "[The other starters] just have to step it up." Mel Angell usually steps back whenever he gets the ball. A three-point shooter, Angell can be deadly. Not to be forgotten is Angell's younger brother, Jason, who can score effectively as a reserve.

And Cvijanovich also thinks that his team is better than just two players.  He told the Times last week: "I keep telling you [media] guys that that's why we're so good," Cvijanovich said. "We have a lot of fine athletes out there." 

We like this matchup and it will be one heck of a game. Two teams that like to run and press, neither with overwhelming size but with great athletes who can shoot, drive and move the ball. Dunks?  Look for Jones to do that. We like Santa Clara's chance to get one for Lou, possibly his last.  But whoever wins, it's going to be fun.

See you there.

The Swish Award
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