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Beverly Hills Tournament:
Palisades High Wins Title--(Dec. 13, 1998)

Palisades High School played Venice High School for the Tournament Championship of the 1998 Beverly Hills Sax Elliot Basketball Invitational Tournament.  Ordinarily we'd be writing about how great it was to see a tournament final game with such good teams.  We'd be writing about the great crowd, and the quality of play. But we'd be lying if we did that with this one.

This was one of the ugliest games we've ever seen.  Ever.

Well, maybe the  ugliest game.  We might have seen an uglier Parks & Rec games.  In pee wee league. But we're not sure.

Ok, to be fair, we actually remember a park league game where one team didn't score at all in the first quarter. Now that  one was worse than the one we witnessed last night  between Palisades and Venice.

Now Pali and Venice are supposed to be two of the top teams in the City Section this year.  Really.  We've already written enough about Venice so that most people should be familiar with names like Glen McGowan, or David Vance, or Joe Dural, or Montel Duhon.   And most people familiar with City Section hoops know names like Edward Estevan, who was the MVP of this same tournament in 1996, or Steve McMaryion, who will be a big time college prospect after this season.

So this game should have been a great matchup, right?   Well, somebody forgot to tell the players. 

What's the worst game you ever saw?  Well, forget it. You didn't see this one. How bad was it?  You have no idea. 

The score at the end of the first quarter:  5 to 6.

And we're not talking about the time of day either.   The game started at 7:30 p.m.   In the first quarter, it was five points for Venice and six points for Palisades.   We gave up counting shot attempts in the first four minutes.  The rims at Beverly Hills are ridiculously tight; if you don't hit all net, the ball isn't going in.  And they are suspended like football goals, the way all gyms were in 1920, and we're sure they're really great for water polo, but for basketball, forget it. Anyone dunks (like guys tried to repeatedly) and the rim is going to bounce for the next five minutes.  Boing, boing, boing.  Just awful.

How bad was this game?  At the half it was Palisades 18, Venice 11. 

Did it get any better?  Not much.  By the end of the third, it was 31-26.  By the time the game ended, it actually resembled a basketball game.  Resembled we said.  Remember, these were two teams that regularly score in the 70 or 80 point range.   Palisades won, 44-38.

And then it was over.  Mercifully. And that's the best thing that can be said about this game.  The refereeing was atrocious.  Worst we've ever seen.  Not just in this game, but in every single game we watched in this tournament. Fouls not called, huge hacks, guys walking like they were on a stroll at the beach they were traveling so bad, jerseys being yanked off of players, tons of no-calls, and tons of phantom fouls getting whistles.   Really, we don't know where Beverly Hills got these refs, but they should send them back to the park league. . . no, don't send them there, because they'll just frustrate another generation of young players who will learn (according to these guys) that there's no consistency to the game.  

We won't really tell you about any individual performances by players, because there weren't any great ones.  None.  Really.  This was just a terrible game. 

And we thought that the game which preceded it was one of the worst games we'd ever seen.  But we were sadly mistaken.  The Campbell Hall v. Agoura game for third place was also bad, but it wasn't the worst.  During the Campbell Hall game, the refs called two technicals on Cleveland's Kenny Mason, ejecting him from the game, for "cussing," called a technical on Campbell Hall's coach, Brian Haloosim, evidently for breathing too loudly (really, he didn't say a word. . . it was a fan), and then the refs refused to allow the game to continue in the third quarter for about five minutes while the refs threatened to throw a fan out of the stands.   The fan's offense?  He was "making too much noise."  WHAT???

Never, never, ever, have we seen a ref try to throw a fan out of a high school game for "making too much noise" or "cheering or taunting" the refs.   Hey, if a fan wants to yell, holler, scream at the top of his lungs, what's wrong with that? It's a basketball game.  The golf-rules don't apply.  Polite applause is not the proper etiquette at a basketball game.   Last time we checked, unless a fan throws something on the floor of the gym or phycially interrupts the game,  it should be "let 'em play."    And if you've never been to the Beverly Hills High "Swim Gym" then you might not understand just how stupid these refs were behaving.  The fan in question was up at the top row of seats, and posed a threat to no one, not even himself (well, he might have fallen down the ridiculously steep stairs in this place, but that's a whole different liability story).

Sheesh.

Anyway, enough ranting and raving. If you were there, you know what we saw.   If you weren't, consider yourself lucky.  Really.

Here are the results of the games from yesterday, scores and all, at least the ones we could find reported:

Third Place

Hamilton 52, Agoura 49--Chris Foster broke a 49-49 tie with a free throw with 31 seconds to play and Damian O'Connor made two technical free throws , giving the Yankees (7-1) fifth place in the Beverly Hills tournament.   Garrett LePisto scored 25 points for the Chargers Agoura (3-3).

Canoga Park 70, Birmingham 56--Mike Bell and Jamie Harris combined for 15 of the Hunters' 27 points in the fourth quarter of a consolation victory at the Beverly Hills tournament.  Bell had seven of his 20 points and Harris eight of his 16 in the quarter.  Darryl Taylor had 15 points for Birmingham.

Buena 61, Beverly Hills 58-- Peter Brown (6'-6" Sr. SG/SF) scored seven of his game-high 29 points in overtime and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead Buena past Beverly Hills, 61-58, in the Beverly Hills Tournament.  Buena (4-4) and Beverly Hills (2-6) were tied at 49 when regulation play ended. In overtime, Buena used a 12-9 spurt to win the game. Danny Thompson scored four points in the extra period and finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Robby Blanks had six assists.  Kerel Sharpner of Beverly Hills scored 25 points, including five 3-pointers and Billy Smyth had 13 points.

Peninsula 74, Ventura 59: Jeff Staniland scored 23 points for Ventura (3-2) in the 57th annual consolation championship game loss. Gary Peterson of Ventura scored all 12 of his 12 points on 3-pointers. Scott Ellis of Ventura added 10 points.

The Swish Award
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