Cleveland High forward Richard Branham and Coach Bob Braswell had a heart-to-heart Tuesday afternoon, a discussion that addressed Branham's on-again, off-again play this season.
Branham, for instance, was named the MVP of the Amador tournament in Pleasanton, Calif., last month and was an All-Valley League selection last year. More recently, however, Branham, a senior who has signed a letter of intent with Cal, has been sitting on the bench rather than sitting pretty.
Braswell's talk must have worked--Branham came off the bench to score a team-high 24 points and grab 16 rebounds as Cleveland easily defeated Hamilton, 106-66, in a Valley League game at Cleveland on Wednesday.
"We had a chance to talk about some of the things that have been bothering him," Braswell said of the 6-4 senior. "I just told him that there are still some doubters out there and for him to prove he could still do it."
Warren Harrell, who has been starting in front of Branham the past five games, had 14 points and 12 rebounds.
"That's pretty good production out of that position," Braswell said.
Joey Manliguis, a senior guard, added 21 points off the bench, including five three-point baskets. Senior point guard Damon Greer, who scored 10 points, added a season-high 14 assists for the Cavaliers.
Cleveland, ranked No. 2 in The Times Valley poll, improved to 9-2 and 1-1 in league play.
Taft 79, Reseda 64--Despite a staggering 25 turnovers and a paltry 26 rebounds, Taft improved its Valley League record to 2-1 with a win over Reseda (2-8, 0-2) at Taft.
"We played like we were looking forward to Friday's game with Kennedy or something," Taft Coach Jim Woodard said. "We were really terrible."
Forward Tony Moten led the Toreadors (10-2) with 24 points. Senior off-guard Quincy Watts scored 23 points on 11-of-13 shooting. Point guard Dedan Thomas, a junior, had 15 points and 8 assists for Taft, which visits Kennedy (10-0) for a league showdown Friday.
San Fernando 71, South Gate 58--San Fernando outscored South Gate, 24-14, in the second quarter to take charge of the nonleague game at San Fernando.
Lance Whitaker, a 6-6 sophomore center, scored nine points in the second period to lead the San Fernando surge.
Guard Tory Stephens had a team-high 17 points and 7 assists for San Fernando (6-4).
Simi Valley 101, Newbury Park 57--Simi Valley scored 34 points in the first quarter on 15-of-18 shooting as the Pioneers (10-3) buried the Panthers in a Marmonte League game at Simi Valley.
The Pioneers led, 58-30, at the half and could have gone the entire second half without scoring a point and won. Simi Valley scored 103 points in its league opener Saturday against Thousand Oaks.
Simi Valley All-American Don MacLean, a 6-10 senior, had a game-high 36 points and 16 rebounds. Senior forward Shawn DeLaittre had 25 points and 16 rebounds for the Pioneers, who are 2-0 in league play. Senior point guard Butch Hawking added 14 points and 9 assists.
Newbury Park (7-7, 1-1) guard Jeff Berman was held to 10 points.
Thousand Oaks 64, Channel Islands 58--Senior guard Kevin Martin scored 30 points for the second consecutive game as the Lancers (3-7, 1-1) won the Marmonte League game at Thousand Oaks.
Martin, who is averaging 21.6 points a game, made 10 of 14 shots in the first half as the Lancers took a 35-29 lead. Martin made 13 of 20 shots, including 3 of 6 on three-point attempts. Martin scored 30 points in a 103-71 loss to Simi Valley on Saturday.
Poly 86, Birmingham 82--A tenacious full-court zone press helped Poly break open a tight game in the third quarter.
The Parrots, led by forward Scott Cooper and center Duke Jacobs, outscored Birmingham, 31-22, in the period and led, 65-51, entering the fourth.
Cooper scored a game-high 23 points and Jacobs added 20 points and 11 rebounds. Teammate Nick Lymberopoulos scored 12 points in a reserve role for Poly (7-3).
Birmingham received balanced scoring from Greg Maxwell (18 points), Jason Moore (17), Vince Walker (14), Glenn Sucich (14) and Panaka Chea (13).