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Central Coast Tourney Action:
High School & JUCO Action--(Dec. 29, 1998)

There's a reason we're here in San Luis Obispo during the same time as the middle of the Best in the West and the San Diego Nike Prep Classic, not to mention the Las Vegas Prep Classic (not the Reebok one, but the other, smaller tourney), and it's not just the 80 degree cloudless skies we've been enjoying here on the Central Coast.  Nope, we're here to watch hoops.  And there has been plenty of it to watch.

Yesterday we saw some great action at the VCA Tournament, and there was more of the same this morning.  Today in an 8:00 a.m. game, Buckley defeated Faith Baptist (why is it always that two local teams have to travel out of the area to play each other. . . both these teams are from the San Fernando Valley).   Colin Ward-Henninger (6'-3" So. SG/SF) had 18 points, including shooting 10-12 from the line.  David Gale (5'-10" Fr. PG) played all but about 30 seconds of the game, and he had 10 points (two three-pointers), 4 steals, 4 assists znd 5 rebounds.   Sasha Rhaban (5'-11" Sr. SG) scored 10 points, while Royal Weaver had 3, Alex Clancy had 8, and Michael Pakravan had 3.  Ward-Henninger also had 9 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.

Buckley managed to almost completely neutralize Faith Baptist's big post, Stefan Grasu (6'-7" Sr. F/C) by doubling him front and back.   Grasu scored only 6 points (two free throws and two field goals) in the first quarter and then only scored another single field goal early in the third.  The last time these two teams met in the Milken Hilltopper Tournament, Grasu lit it up for 17 points and 18 rebounds; today he only had 6 rebounds, and sat for most of the third and fourth quarters.

Later in the day, Grace Brethren of Simi Valley came back from a 16 point halftime deficit to win against Contra Costa Christian in overtime, 60-66.   We've seen some big swings but this was one of the wildest, and most of the credit has to go to Robert Serra (5'-10" Jr. SG) who scored 20 points, most of them in the second half for bringing his team back into it.  He's a very smart, talented player with a great handle and good court sense.  Grace and Buckley matchup tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. for the Consolation Championship at Santa Maria St. Joseph High (sheesh, another local matchup. . .)

Providence's team has been waltzing through the championship side of the bracket.  After beating Contra Cost Christian by 27 points on Monday, the team drew a bye in the second round, and plays tonight at 5:00 p.m. against the winnner of Valley Cerritos v. VCA.  In the other half of the championship bracket, Holy Martyrs (yet another San Fernando Valley team) played Mission Prep, and if they win, they will probably end up meeting Liberty League rival Providence in the other Championship game.   So this tournament will have three Liberty League teams in the championship rounds.

In the JC games, Hancock College hammerd Cypress College 81-63, and Adrian Parks scored 24 points for the Hancock Bulldogs, shooting 5-6 from the field in the second half. Raymond Mason hit for 13 of 17 points in the second half also, including three consecutive three-pointers late in the game.   The Bulldogs will face Cerritos College in the semifinals tonight at 8:00 p.m. and the other semifinal will feature Cuesta college, which won 97-78 over College of the Sequoias, facing Irvine Valley College, which defeated Santa Barbara JC 73-48.

And that's only part of the stuff we saw.  We checked out a couple of games at the Atascadero Tournament yesterday, and also saw the Santa Barbara Tournament where Dos Pueblos just squeaked by St. Joseph Santa Maria 60-59.   And for you Cal fans, Shantay Legans led all scorers with 26 points.

We'll have lots more later, but right now we've got to get over to VCA to see Providence. 

Later.

The Swish Award
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