If there's a bright spot in Saugus High's 1-3 start in 1987, it's last season's Southern Section 3-A championship.
The Centurions of last year also started 1-3 but bounced back pretty well.
Saugus Coach John Clark has not forgotten, even in the face of Wednesday's 69-68 loss to Ventura in the second round of the Beverly Hills tournament.
"I feel good," Clark maintained moments after his team missed 5 of 5 free throws in the final two minutes to blow a three-point lead. "I've known all along that I have a decent team. I'm not discouraged."
Neither was Ventura's Joe Paul, whose layup with 30 seconds left came after he had missed his only two previous shots.
"Anytime you have a three-year starter, you have to go to him," Ventura Coach Chris Taylor said of his senior guard. "I think we played with a little bit of poise in the end."
And in the middle.
Saugus led, 40-32, at halftime, but the Cougars (2-0) tied the score, 44-44, three minutes into the third quarter. Jeff Hereford, Ventura's senior forward, scored 10 of his team-high 21 points in the quarter.
Chris Hantgin then picked up the bulk of the scoring, accounting for 11 of the Cougars' final 16 points. He finished with 20.
Rick Bilek accounted for much of Saugus' early lead as he scored 18 of his 24 points in the first half.
Saugus plays Crespi today at 6:30 p.m.
Rio Mesa 55, Torrance 40--Senior forward Damon Dicus scored nine of his game-high 15 points in the second half as the Spartans pulled away from the Tartars with a 20-point third quarter.
Guard Jeff Garner added six points in the third quarter to pace Rio Mesa (2-1).
Today at 5:30 p.m., Rio Mesa plays the winner of the 3:30 p.m. game between Westlake and Hart.
Palisades 62, Crespi 46--Jamie Dudley scored 18 points, 11 in the second half, to lead Palisades. The Dolphins won despite 50% shooting in 30 attempts at the line .
Crespi (3-2), which had only six free throws, received 17 points from guard Mike Tilkian. The 6-0 senior scored 14 in the second half, including three three-point shots. Crespi's Pat Brady scored all eight of his points in the second half.
Beverly Hills 67, Camarillo 39--Beverly Hills reeled off the first six points and never struggled. Tom Carrillo and Scott Foster had eight points each for Camarillo.
Beverly Hills (6-0) advances to the semifinals against Mater Dei at 9 p.m. Friday. Camarillo plays Buena tonight at 8.