Don't talk to Bob Hawking about white sand beaches and warm Polynesian breezes. He's not in Hawaii this weekend for fun. It's a business trip for the Simi Valley High boys basketball coach. He didn't even bring his wife.
But there's trouble with this trip. His team didn't take care of business.
Simi Valley, unbeatable this season in North America, suffered its first loss 3,000 miles from home in the opening round of the 12-team Iolani tournament in Honolulu. The Pioneers lost more than a game in Thursday's 57-50 defeat to Honolulu University--they missed a chance at national recognition.
With a first-round win, Simi Valley would have played Flint Hill Prep of Oakton, Va., the team ranked No. 2 in the nation by USA Today. Instead, the Pioneers were forced to watch in the stands Friday night as Flint Hill destroyed University, 65-35.
Hawking found no pleasure in a spectator's role, and his mood hasn't been improved by a cold he caught on the trip to the islands.
"We came over here undefeated and we got a loss," he said. "And I came over here with my health and now I'm sick. I'm on a roll."
Simi Valley (7-1) got back on track Saturday, defeating Kalaheo (Hawaii), 67-51, but the Pioneers still regret their showing in the first round.
"We didn't play well at all," Hawking said. "We didn't play with any intensity. We were listless."
Heading the list of the listless was 6-5 junior Shawn DeLaittre, who scored a career-low three points, well below his season average of 18.
"I couldn't get pumped up," said DeLaittre, who scored 22 points against Kalaheo. "I was like dead. It was just a nightmare game. I was spoken pretty highly of in the program and to go out and score three points and look like a fool doesn't make me feel good.
"The main reason we came here was for basketball. Now everything is ruined. Now we're playing for nothing."
Not exactly nothing. The Pioneers are playing for Hawking.
"I'm playing the rest of the tournament for him," said 6-10 junior Don MacLean, who played well Thursday, finishing with 23 points and 17 rebounds. "I feel really bad for him. Playing Flint Hill could have given us national recognition if we beat them or gave them a good game. That's all he's talked about since spring practice. He worked hard to set it up and we didn't do what we came here for."
MacLean said the Pioneers underestimated University.
"We were looking totally past them," he said. "We weren't even thinking about them. On any other night, we could beat University. I wish we could play them again."
Not all is lost. Simi Valley plays for the consolation championship Monday against McClancy of East Elmhurst, N.Y. And there are still some sights to see before they return home Tuesday. "You know why I'm here," he said. "We're here for the basketball competition, to see how we stack up. If this group of teams was in Mojave, we'd have gone there."
Drug program: Westlake finished the football season with a 5-5 record and missed the playoffs for the fourth straight year, but the Warriors passed one milestone in 1986: Westlake became the first Valley-area high school to institute a drug-testing program.
Westlake received approval for the program from the Conejo Valley Unified School District in September and devised a program suitable to the district's legal staff in time to implement the volunteer, confidential program after the eighth week of the season. Three groups of five Westlake football players were selected at random and given urine tests by Athletic Director Bob Fisher on successive weeks, concluding on Nov. 17, the Monday after the end of the regular season. Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks administered the tests free of charge.
Westlake Coach George Contreras pushed hard for the program, saying his only regret was that the program wasn't mandatory. But now that drug testing is a reality at the school, Contreras said he is the last person to ask about it.
"We coaches are not involved in it," said Contreras, who added that's exactly how he wants it. "The whole deal with this is secrecy. I have no knowledge of how many kids signed up for the program or how many have tested positive. Other than it happened, I don't know anything."
Fisher, however, was able to supply details, saying that 21 of 46 varsity football players signed up for the program. He cited logistics problems for the low turnout.
"We wanted to make sure we got the program right and anticipate all problems before we presented it to the players and their parents. By the time we got it ready, we just ran out of season. We gave out permission forms to the parents at a boosters club meeting on a Tuesday and started the testing the next week. The parents had a short time to make an important decision. If we had more lead time, we would have had higher participation."