Businesses close and church groups postpone meetings when the Los Angeles Lakers play the Boston Celtics in an NBA game.
Although it doesn't attract the attention of a Laker-Celtic game, Simi Valley High's match-up with Cleveland at Cal State Northridge on Dec. 8 rates as the Valley-area's most eagerly awaited basketball game.
"We're finding interest already--probably more than I've ever witnessed. And I've been here 23 years," Cleveland Athletic Director Ray Todd said.
Cleveland has advanced to the City Section 4-A Division final the past two seasons, and Simi Valley has three starters returning from last season's 26-2 team that reached the Southern Section 4-A semifinals. The Pioneers are led by 6-10 center Don MacLean, one of the nation's top high school players.
Both schools already are selling tickets to avoid long lines on game night. They each have 1,000 tickets with an additional 1,000 saved for game-day sales.
"We'll probably sell out," Simi Valley Athletic Director Terry Dobbins said.
If they do sell out the 3,000-seat gymnasium at CSUN, the gross could be as much as $10,000.
The 2,000 presale tickets are $3 each and the tickets sold immediately preceding the game are $4. The teams keep all the money from their own presale tickets and split the game-day revenues after paying CSUN for the facilities.
For Simi Valley, playing in front of big crowds is nothing new--the Pioneers regularly draw 1,500 to 1,600 for home games. Two seasons ago, Simi Valley played in the Southern Section 4-A final and there was a rush for tickets. "We sold 3,000 tickets in two hours," Dobbins said. "We didn't know what hit us."
Although Cleveland's average home attendance is smaller because many students are bused in from Los Angeles, Cavalier fans are notoriously boisterous.
Try the want ads: When North Hollywood basketball Coach Steve Miller was putting together his school's Christmas tournament, he enlisted some of the area's top City teams.
Taft? Check , Miller thought. El Camino Real? Check. Birmingham? Check. Add Miller's Huskies and the North Hollywood tournament was shaping up to be a top-notch gathering.
Then Birmingham checked out.
It seems the Braves inadvertently were registered in three tournaments and City Section rules mandate no more than two. Although Birmingham officials were aware of the rule when they signed up for the North Hollywood tournament, they were unaware that former Coach Jeff Halpern had agreed last season to play in this year's Simi Valley tournament Dec. 1-5.
Birmingham will honor its commitment to the Simi Valley tournament, leaving the North Hollywood tournament a team short.
"It's just an unfortunate set of circumstances," Birmingham Athletic Director Louis Ramirez said.
Meanwhile, Miller is scrambling for a replacement. "Everybody is in two tournaments already," he said.
The North Hollywood tournament runs Dec. 17-19. North Hollywood, Taft and El Camino Real will be joined by Grant, Granada Hills, Bell-Jeff and Montclair Prep. Miller said if he can't find a team by Monday, the eighth team will be North Hollywood's JV team.
No respect: A cursory glance at this season's statistics indicate a sub-par year for All-City running back Ronald Wilkinson of Reseda. As a junior last year, Wilkinson rushed for 1,051 yards and 13 touchdowns. This season he has 777 yards and nine touchdowns.
But Reseda Coach Joel Schaeffer has been pleased with Wilkinson's production and said criticism is unwarranted. "He's a class running back and he deserves to be considered among them," Schaeffer said.
Wilkinson's 1987 statistics reflect reduced playing time. A year ago, he played in 12 games, including three in the playoffs. This season, he's been in only seven.
Wilkinson missed the Grant game because of a twisted ankle, and Reseda's game against Monroe was canceled because of the Oct. 1 earthquake.
Yet Wilkinson could surpass last season's totals. If he continues to average 111 yards and 1.3 touchdowns a game and Reseda advances to the City 2-A title game, Wilkinson will finish with 1,110 yards and 13 touchdowns in only 10 games.
Against all odds: Many people were shocked, including Birmingham co-Coach Chick Epstein, when the Braves lost their Sunset League finale to Monroe, 36-22, last week.
Everything was in Birmingham's favor. The Braves (4-5, 2-3) had to win to have a chance at a berth in the City 3-A Division playoffs and their spirits were further boosted by the return of Marcel Sellers, who had missed four games because of a broken collarbone.
Monroe (4-4, 1-4) had little incentive. The Vikings had lost four consecutive league games after starting the season 3-0. Yet Monroe controlled Friday's contest by rushing for 288 yards.
"They just took it to us," Epstein said. "We couldn't slow down their offensive line or their ground game."
There were bright spots in Birmingham's defeat, however.
Alan Sedacca completed 27 of 45 passes for a school-record 317 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jason Moore tied a school mark with 11 catches for 135 yards.
Sedacca completed 110 of 207 passes (53.1%) for 1,398 yards, 8 touchdowns and threw 9 interceptions this season. Moore had 46 receptions for 610 yards and 2 touchdowns.
"Alan and Jason were two highlights in an dismal season," Epstein said. "They both played extremely well this year."
Moore's performance comes as little surprise considering his lineage. At 6-1 and 190 pounds, he displays many of the physical traits of his father, Manfred, who played running back for USC from 1971 to '73 as well as for the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL.
"He's big, strong and fast. He can run between 4.5 and 4.6 in the 40," Epstein said. "He has very soft hands and great jumping ability. He's also a tremendous blocker. He really enjoys the contact."
Staff writers Vince Kowalick and John Ortega contributed to this notebook.