Roy Gilmore, president of the Ventura County High School Basketball Coaches Assn., picked a couple of rookies to handle the South team in this year's Ventura County all-star basketball game.
The reasons were as plentiful as the points would be Friday night at Ventura High.
Simi Valley Coach Bob Hawking had done it before, as had Thousand Oaks' Ed Chevalier and Newbury Park's Ken Barone. Gilmore might have done it himself, but he won't be back as the coach at Westlake next season.
"Everybody is pretty busy this time of year, what with summer leagues and that type of thing," Gilmore said. "And most of the guys from the larger schools had done it recently, and the small schools just have too much turnover to plan for something like this.
"It's supposed to be kind of an honor, but we couldn't find a varsity coach to handle it this year."
That was just fine with South co-coaches Tim Bednar and Brian Underwood, the respective junior varsity and freshman coaches at Thousand Oaks.
The opportunity to coach--well, sort of coach--the team of high school standouts was something those two weren't about to pass up.
Bednar and Underwood handled the coaching choreography, and the South team handled the fast-break dance as the South buried the North, 127-106, for its fifth consecutive victory in the series, which the South leads, 7-4.
For the Thousand Oaks duo, this was a chance to coach a dream team. It was fun and gun all night long.
"That was really enjoyable to watch, wasn't it," Bednar said. "All of out practices were geared toward the attitude of 'Let's have some fun.' "
It was so much fun that it became easy. All Bednar and Underwood had to do was scribble a note or two on their clipboards and occasionally call a play. And given the breakneck pace, they weren't required to call too many plays, either.
"That was a blast," said guard Charlie Cangelosi of Westlake, who scored 14 points. "We never scored that many at Westlake. Coach Gilmore put in the subs before that."
It would have taken General Sherman--or a Sherman tank--to slow down the South on its path to the bucket.
Steve Ward of Calabasas, who will attend Washington next year, led all scorers with 24 points. Paul Keenan of Westlake scored 20. Seven players from the South scored in double figures.
After taking a halftime lead of 53-45, the South came out with guns blazing in the third quarter, outscoring the North, 34-25, to take a 87-70 lead into the final period.
About the only serious threat came when Mike McCaslin scored with 8:15 left to bring the North to within 93-81.
Ward then scored two straight baskets and the South never looked back. Travis Bice of Simi Valley got the South to the century mark at 100-83 with a 10-foot jumper with 7:17 remaining.
Bice, who will attend UNLV, scored 12 points. Jon Walker of Thousand Oaks finished with 16, Bruce Watson of Thousand Oaks had 14 and Rick Welch--who will attend Pepperdine--had 11.
"We didn't have to do much," Underwood admitted. "But that's why these guys are here, because they know what to do with the ball."