Junior college basketball is unpredictable, to say the least, but when Moorpark College plays, one thing is normally for sure: its leading scorer's name will be Danny.
That's been the name for much of the Westen State Conference's season and such was the case, again, Saturday at Moorpark when Danny Camp scored 30 points to lead the Raiders to a 74-71 upset over 15th-ranked Ventura.
The other Danny, Danny Berryman had an off night, scoring nine points, possibly due to the fact that he has been ill this week. Berryman, who averages 21.7 points a game, is the 10th-leading scorer in the state. When he's off, the Raiders can count on Camp, ranked among the top 20 scorers in the state.
Ventura, the conference's Cinderella team after finishing last a year ago, had beat Moorpark, 66-55, earlier this season, so it was an especially sweet victory for the Raiders, who at 5-5 and 16-9 overall, are fighting for a playoff berth.
"This is the happiest I have felt all season," said Steve Abraham, who scored 17 points and had 10 assists. "Every game we have played has been so close. It's really feels great to finally win one of the close ones--especially against Ventura."
Abraham, with 254 assists and an 11.1 average, is the state's assist leader.
At 7-3, 14-8 overall, Ventura still has a lock on first place in the conference, but Moorpark's win Saturday proves that no Western State team is invincible.
"This conference, it's a dogfight," Moorpark Coach Al Nordquist said.
So was much of Saturday's game. The Raiders took the Pirates out of their game early, jumping out to an 11-6 lead in the first five minutes. Fifteen minutes of dog-fighting later, however, and Ventura tied the score at 35 on a Lawson Smith slam dunk.
Both teams exchanged baskets for the first five minutes of the second half and then Cammp scored four points and Abraham scored two to give Moorpark a 51-46 lead. Later in the half, the Raiders scored eight unanswered points, capped by a 20-footer by Camp and led, 67-59.
Moorpark was able to work the ball inside to Darrin Channels, Chad Staples and Dave Inemer, something they had trouble with in the first game at Ventura. The three inside men combined for 18 points.
"I thought we played hard in both games," said Nordquist, comparing Saturday's game to the earlier season loss to the Pirates. "Both teams played very well, it's just that we got hot at the right time. Channels had a great game, Inemer played well and Berryman gave us enough outside scoring.
"We played them man-to-man this time and it worked. Last time, up there, we went up against that zone they use and had trouble with it."
Ventura was without the services of 6-7 forward Kevin Venable, one of the team's leading scorers. Oval Miller, a 6-8 center, scored a team-high 24 points for Ventura and had 15 rebounds. Teammate Lawson Smith scored 14 points and Steve Banales had 13.
VENTURA--Miller 24 and 15 rebounds; Whitmore 4; Turner 3; Smith 14; Banales 13; Mean 2; Frishman 8; Cortez 2; Duncan.
MOORPARK--Abraham 17 and 10 assists; Berryman 9; Camp 30; Channels 8; Inemer 6; Staples 4.