When a brawl broke out in the stands among the Moorpark and Taft women's basketball teams Saturday, it perhaps summed up the frustration of many of the Moorpark fans, who had just watched their men's team lose.
The brief brawl after the men's game was nothing, however, compared to the battle that had taken place on the court. After losing, 78-70, to Taft on Saturday, the Moorpark men (12-5, 1-1) knew that they had participated in only one of many tough scraps to come in the Western State Conference.
"They just jumped us," Moorpark Coach Al Nordquist said.
Taft did indeed jump the Raiders, and when it had them down, it kept them there.
It went like this:
Moorpark scored first on a Danny Berryman layup, then Taft scored--seven times in a row. Four minutes into the game, the Cougars had an 11-point lead. Taft was able to keep that margin for almost the entire game. The Cougars led by 17 at one time, and kept at least 10 points away from Moorpark until the half.
"They would make little spurts, but then we fought them off," Taft Coach Rolland Todd said.
The Raiders made one big spurt in the closing minutes. Down by nine points with a little more than seven minutes left, Steve Abraham scored a bucket as did Dave Inemer, who followed with a three-point play. Taft answered, and then Danny Camp and Berryman both scored. Inemer scored again, and Moorpark was within two, 70-68, with 2:39 remaining. But Taft outscored the Raiders, 8-2, the rest of the way.
"I think we were just quicker than they were," Todd said. "We're certainly not bigger than Moorpark, but our quickness, I think, made the difference."
Taft's shooting also helped a bit. Sophomore Keith Jackson was able to run in circles near the Taft basket, enabling him to get open consistently and score 28 points, sharing high-scoring honors with Berryman.
"Every time they made the run at us," Nordquist said, "they scored. They have fantastic shooters on that team and they got the shots.
"I think it was a great game, it's too bad only one team can win. And it's too bad there weren't that many people here to see it."
For Moorpark, it was too bad so many hot-shooting Taft players were there to play it.
Four of the five Cougar starters scored in double figures. Besides Jackson's 28, Derek Gathers scored 14, and Darrell Gates and Kevin Stewart each had 10.
Taft proved to be pretty quick even when it wasn't running. The Cougars forced 22 turnovers, mostly by swatting the ball away from the Raiders. Inemer, the WSC's leading rebounder, had nine turnovers, and Abraham, the conference's leader in assists, had six turnovers.
"We were down by 17 and we came back," Nordquist said. "I think we played a great game. But it was a tough game, we lost and that's it. Taft is a good team, and when you let a good team like that jump out to a big lead, it makes it very hard to play catch-up."
It was the first conference game for Taft (11-7). Moorpark will play Cuesta Wednesday night at Cuesta at 7:30.
TAFT--Jackson 28; Gathers 14; Stewart 10; Gates 10; Wharton 8; Brown 6.
MOORPARK--Berryman 28 and 5 assists; Camp 17; Inemer 11 and 9 rebounds; Abraham 7 and 6 assists; Channels 7.