When a two-year starter who is probably the school's best athlete turns in his jersey a year earlier than expected, it is bound to hurt. But at Hueneme High, the basketball team just patched up the wound and reeled off three consecutive victories.
It hurts so good.
David Nunnery, a starting forward as a sophomore and junior, checked out of the Viking program after two games this season by "mutual agreement," according to Coach Barry Long. Hueneme (3-4) had lost its first two games, then defeated Moorpark, Agoura and Channel Islands before dropping two in a row in the Hart tournament this week.
Nunnery (6-2, 200) joined the team late after helping the Hueneme football team win a share of the Channel League title. Nunnery, a defensive end and running back, was a Times' All-Ventura County selection.
"David is a tremendous athlete who has the ability to play Division I football," Long said. "He excelled at basketball as well but may not have been as motivated this year as he was in the past."
Add Hueneme: With only two seniors in the starting lineup, Long is calling this a rebuilding year. He is especially pleased with juniors Constantino Lopez, Mike Wolfe and Doug Brekke, all of whom are starters.
Lopez (6-0) is the point guard and Wolfe (6-4) and Brekke (6-2), who played both linebacker and tight end on the football team, are forwards.
"We've got some real good young players," Long said. "Five juniors see playing time."
Brekke is the team's second-leading scorer, averaging 11 points a game. Lopez is third with a nine-point average.
Senior Robert Secrest leads Hueneme with an average of 13.5 points a game.
More youth: Camarillo is another team with an eye toward the future. Coach John Harbour is back after a one-year sabbatical and he has brought his son David with him.
David is a freshman guard who has helped the Scorpion junior varsity to a 6-1 record. Other youngsters who should join the varsity next season are sophomore Rick Schnell and freshman David Nathaniel.
With young talent like this, Harbour likely will not take another sabbatical for a while.
"I'm fired up," Harbour said. "Our lower-level programs look good and we have good-looking young players on the varsity."
Ed Lane, a 6-6 junior center, and Frank Dews a 6-2 junior forward, are varsity starters. Sophomore forward Scott Foster (6-4), who scored eight points in a 53-51 loss to Channel Islands on Monday, is getting more playing time every week.
Still cleaning up: Channel Islands' Roger Jones, who was the Times' Ventura County lineman of the year after recording 22 sacks, sacked his first basketball opponent Monday in the first round of the Ventura tournament. The senior swingman, playing in his first game after recovering from an ankle injury, hit an 18-foot jump shot with one second left to beat Camarillo, 53-51.
Two former football standouts scored 30 of the Raiders' points; Jones tallied 12 and guard Victor Caro, who averaged 12.7 points a game last season, scored 18.
Moorpark's marathon madness: The Moorpark High basketball team practiced for 36 hours last week, a lot for any team, especially considering the Musketeers practiced for 36 hours in a row.
Far from being a punishment, the marathon session was requested by the players, who apparently had nothing better to do for Christmas vacation.
"We had a great time," Coach Rick Kent said. "Some legs got tired but overall it was a lot of fun. The guys told me they would have been playing basketball during vacation anyway, so why not do it as a team?"
Record search: The girls basketball teams from Buena and San Gabriel highs each have won 11 consecutive league titles--one shy of the Southern Section record, held by Cerritos Valley Christian, which won 12 in a row from 1971-82.
Royal kickers: Royal walked away with the championship of the eighth annual Simi Valley Soccer tournament last week. Thirty-two teams from as far away as Las Vegas, San Diego and Fresno participated.
Cameron Rast and Edwin Vela scored goals for Royal in the Highlanders' 2-0 win over Clark of Las Vegas in the final.
Said Royal Coach Peter Schraml: "We completely dominated the game."
Agoura defeated West of Bakersfield, 4-1, in the third-place game. In consolation games, Thousand Oaks defeated San Marino, 3-2, and Simi Valley beat Edison of Fresno, 2-0.