It's a problem any coach would love to have. Capistrano Valley High School has opened the 1985-86 basketball season with a 10-1 record, but Cougar Coach Mark Thornton is concerned that his team has not played a good game.
The Cougars went through the motions again on Friday night in the second round of the Orange Holiday Classic and walked away with a 69-61 victory over Fountain Valley. The Cougars have averaged 86 points in two games at Hutton Sports Center, but something isn't quite right.
"We have not gotten all five starters to play a good game together this season," Thornton said. "Don't get me wrong, we like the W's. But I'm having a hard time trying to figure out why we can't play together for four quarters."
Perhaps the Cougars lose interest. They have a habit of opening a big lead in the first quarter and usually scoring 20 points or more after eight minutes of play. They followed the pattern against Fountain Valley by opening a 9-2 lead after a minute and led, 21-16, after one quarter.
But Fountain Valley (6-5) outplayed the Cougars in the next three minutes and held a 22-21 lead in the second quarter following forward Tim Johnson's jump shot. The Barons got to within six points of the Cougars twice in the fourth quarter, but failed to get any closer.
Capistrano Valley sealed the win by making 11 of 15 free throws in the last quarter. The Cougars were 25 of 33 from the line, and Fountain Valley was 5 of 12.
"It seems like we start playing down after the first quarter," Thornton said. "We'll score 20 points, and then we won't continue the momentum. We're better than what we've been showing."
Dave Brown, Fountain Valley coach, was excited about his team's play. The Barons were blown out by John W. North of Riverside and Corona del Mar in the Irvine Tournament but have rebounded well this week.
"This was our best effort of the season," Brown said. "If we can play with Capo, we can play with the teams in our league. I see improvement in every game."
Guard Todd Hanson led the Barons with 16 points, making 7 of 11 field-goal attempts and both of his free throws. Johnson added 13 points and 9 rebounds.
Center John Waikle paced the Cougars with 20 points and 9 rebounds. Point guard Nathan Call added 17 points, and Shawn Reed had 16. The Cougars meet Marina in the semifinals at 6:50 tonight.
In other championship quarterfinal action:
Mater Dei 53, Saddleback 51 (overtime)--John Mounce made an uncontested layup with 20 seconds remaining to give the Monarchs a 53-51 lead, and the Roadrunners missed three shots in the final seconds, as Mater Dei barely held on for the win. The Monarchs (11-0) kept their 40-game win streak alive and will meet Santa Clara in tonight's semifinals.
LeRon Ellis, Kevin Rembert and Tom Peabody each missed the front end of bonus free-throw situations in overtime, but Saddleback couldn't make a shot to tie the game. Saddleback's Bryant Walton led all scorers with 31 points, including a 25-footer at the buzzer in regulation that sent the game into overtime.
Rembert had the ball for Mater Dei with 10 seconds left and, thinking time had expired, fired a 50-foot shot that missed. Saddleback got the rebound with 9 seconds to go and Walton hit the final shot.
Stuart Thomas scored 20 points to lead the Monarchs and Ellis added 12.
Santa Clara 35, Orange 34--The Panthers stole the ball with 23 seconds left and had three chances to win, but missed on all three tries, as the defending 2-A champion Saints held on for the quarterfinal win.
Dave Roth, who scored 25 points to lead Orange (5-5), missed a jump shot from the top of the key, and both Troy Peterson and Eric Dowell missed follow shots from inside as time ran out. Phil Fancher scored 20 points to lead Santa Clara (8-2), which will meet Mater Dei in the semifinals.
Marina 75, Dana Hills 50--Sophomore Steve Guild scored a game-high 22 points and had 9 rebounds to lead the Vikings into the championship semifinals against Capistrano Valley. Mike Meyers added 16 points and 9 assists, Brian Sterzer had 12 points, and Bill Craft and Mark Georgeson each had 10 points for Marina (9-3). Dave Cmelak led Dana Hills (4-3) with 18 points.
MARINA (75)--Guild 22, Meyers 16, Sterzer 12, Craft 10, Georgeson 10, Medina 2, Padilla 2, Hattabaugh 1.
DANA HILLS (50)--Cmelak 18, Crawford 2, Duby 6, Estevan 7, Loyd 7, Lyon 6, Micalizzi 2, Reilley 2.
In the consolation quarterfinals:
Foothill 77, Orange JV 24--Alan Schlines scored 18 points and Bill Peckham added 14 as the Knights (6-3) routed the Panthers in the consolation quarterfinals.
Westminster 62, Loara 46--Guard Tom Dever scored 10 of his 23 points in the first quarter as the Lions opened a 16-8 lead and advanced to the consolation semifinals, where they will meet Lakewood at 2 today.
El Modena 80, Costa Mesa 63--Forward Mitch Pelichowski followed his 40-point game on Thursday with a 43-point performance, but, once again, it wasn't enough as the Mustangs were eliminated from tournament play. Pelichowski made 21 of 25 free throw attempts and 11 field goals for the second-highest scoring output in the 20-year history of the tournament.