The Cleveland Cadavaliers?
When the news came out nine days ago, that Cleveland High's All-American basketball player, Trevor Wilson, had been injured, many felt the Cavaliers would slowly sink to the depths of the Valley 4-A League.
Wilson, a 6-8 senior who has already signed with UCLA, arrived on campus in a cast--bone chips and strained ligaments in his left ankle. The two-time All-City performer, who was averaging 29 points and 14 rebounds a game, would be sidelined for at least six weeks.
Later that day, Coach Bob Braswell learned that starting forward Antoine Shofner quit the team for personal reasons.
The Cavaliers at the time were tied for first in league with a 2-0 record, but it wasn't expected to hold that position long. They had a game with Fairfax, also 2-0 and last season's City 3-A champion, coming up. Earlier in the season, Fairfax had beaten Cleveland with Wilson.
As Braswell said this week: "Things looked bleak."
But Cleveland's luck turned good almost as quickly as it had turned bad.
On Wednesday, Taft upset Fairfax to put Cleveland alone in first.
That Friday, the Cavaliers scored a dramatic 81-80 win in overtime over the Lions on Fairfax's home court.
Heading into today's 4 p.m. home game with Hamilton, Cleveland (6-5 overall) is still alone in first place and feeling good.
"It was a confidence builder," Braswell said of the win over Fairfax. "They felt they could win it, and I felt they could win it, without Trevor."
Five Cavaliers scored in double figures. Shofner, who had returned to the team, contributed 17 points, and Albert Fann led the way with 25 points, proving there is more to Cleveland basketball than Wilson.
Without their superstar, the Cavaliers, who are ranked third in the Valley by The Times, were able to extend their league winning streak to 24 games.
Braswell noticed that once the word was out about Wilson, the Cavaliers' stock dropped. In its poll last week of the City's top 10 teams, The Times did not include Cleveland.
"We weren't getting much respect," he said.
The overtime victory at Fairfax has changed all that.
Add Cleveland: Sophomore point guard Joey Manliguis had quite a day for the Cavaliers Friday. Braswell said that Manliguis was "kidnapped" on Thursday night by the Cleveland drill team and didn't get home until 5 a.m. Friday.
Manliguis then went to a team breakfast at 6:30 a.m. Later in the school day, Manliguis, who had been bothered by a cold and flu, fainted. He then went out and scored 10 points and handed off nine assists against Fairfax. After the game, he suffered from hyperventilation.
Braswell said he wasn't surprised how well the sophomore did, despite his day. "Joey can play basketball," Braswell said. "He's an excellent ball handler and he's improved most of all on defense. That's what got him into the starting lineup."
Last add Cleveland: Braswell was at the Taft-Fairfax game last
week. His reaction when Coach Jim Woodard's team defeated the Lions?
"I went out and shook Woodard's hand and said, 'Thanks buddy, we needed that,' " Braswell said.
A living legend: "How do you spell the coach's name?" a reporter asked a crowd that had gathered in the Santa Clara basketball office Friday night following the Saints' 76-54 victory over Calabasas.
"C-V-I-J-A-N-O-V-I-C-H," two people replied in unison.
Lou Cvijanovich has coached at the Oxnard school for more than three decades, winning nine Southern Section basketball titles in the process.
"Around here," said one observer, "if you can't spell Cvijanovich, it's a sin."
Canyon High linebacker Randy Austin will visit UCLA this weekend on the second of his scheduled five recruiting trips.
Austin, The Times' Valley lineman of the year, visited BYU last weekend and came away impressed, according to Canyon Coach Harry Welch.
"He had a great visit. He was really impressed with Coach LaVell Edwards," Welch said. "He was really well received and well fed. He came back with a great big smile."
Austin is planning to visit USC, Washington and Colorado before February 12, the day candidates can sign with a college. The Valley Top 10 Selected by sportswriters of The Times
Last Rk Wk Team League Record 1 1 Simi Valley Marmonte 15-1 2 2 Crespi Del Rey 10-4 3 3 Cleveland Valley 4-A 6-5 4 4 Kennedy Valley 4-A 7-4 5 5 El Camino Real Valley 4-A 8-4 6 6 Granada Hills N. W. Valley 8-3 7 10 Van Nuys East Valley 7-1 8 NR Burbank Foothill 11-4 9 9 Rio Mesa Channel 8-4 10 7 Westlake Marmonte 11-4 (tie) NR Taft Valley 4-A 9-3