On your mark. Get set. Go!
Polytechnic High guard Jorge Ramos drives to the basket the way a dragster begins a race, with pure acceleration. And it looks like Ramos, a 5-8 guard, has guided the Parrots to an East Valley League title.
Poly beat Van Nuys, 92-77, before a vocal crowd at Poly Wednesday to pull two games ahead of the Wolves and one in front of North Hollywood with one game left to play. Poly finishes Friday against lowly Grant.
Van Nuys (12-4, 6-3 in league) had hoped to create a three-way tie by beating Poly (13-7, 8-1). But those hopes were deflated. The sound you hear is a Ramos fizz.
Ramos had 13 assists, several on dazzling no-look and behind-the-head passes while he was driving through the lane at full throttle. But that's no surprise--he leads Valley-area players with an average of 10 assists per game. His 24 points were a personal best, though.
"Ramos was the difference," Van Nuys Coach Kevin Duford said. "He killed us. We wanted to make him shoot outside, but he drove the lane whenever he wanted to. That's exactly what we wanted to avoid."
Said Ramos, who had 23 points and 10 assists last week in a win over North Hollywood: "I'm gaining more and more confidence in my shot. I love to make the good pass but now I'm taking it to the hoop just as often."
Ramos had 18 points in the first half when Poly took a 41-38 lead. Van Nuys big men Terry Silberman and Rashe Dorsey began to challenge Ramos on his drives in the third quarter, so the Poly guard passed for five assists and the Parrots extended their lead to nine points by the end of the period.
Leading, 65-60, early in the fourth quarter, Ramos missed the second of two free throws, but Carlos Ortiz rebounded and scored. Van Nuys, which relied on the scoring of guards Damon Fredieu and Pat Meyer, never pulled closer than eight points the rest of the game.
Poly made 20 of 29 free throws, including 9 of 14 in the fourth quarter.
"We've really jelled," Poly Coach Al Uyemura said. "We're peaking just in time for the playoffs."
So is Jorge Ramos.
VAN NUYS--Dorsey 14 and 10 rebounds; Granberry 2; Silberman 6; Meyer 16; Fredieu 24 and 11 rebounds; Krulak 6; Lyles 2; Jefferson 2; Galloway 5.
POLYTECHNIC--Larson 12; Ruzich 11 and 13 rebounds; Ortiz 21 and 11 rebounds; Ramos 24 and 13 assists; Ehrlich 15; Balas 9;