As a packed Friedrich Pavilion at Santa Clara High warmed its vocal cords for the Saints' game against Simi Valley on Saturday night, the public-address announcer introduced No. 11 for the Pioneers.
Point guard Butch Hawking bounded from his courtside seat and trotted through the corridor of reserves, ambidextrously accepting high-fives.
At the end of the line, Hawking and Chris Wright, Simi Valley's 5-foot, 4-inch guard affectionately known as Spud, exchanged a choreographed handshake that can be described as full-contact sign language.
It is a ritual Hawking and Wright picked up watching last season's Nevada Las Vegas introductions. The exchange, however, is saved for special occasions.
"We do it for the important games," Hawking said. "Just a little something extra to get us pumped up."
It seemed to work against Santa Clara, as Hawking hit his first two shots on the way to a 14-point performance. He also slipped a behind-the-back pass into his repertoire as the Pioneers defeated the Saints, 65-60.
"Butch has been pretty steady all year," Simi Valley forward Shawn DeLaittre said. "Every game he's consistent. We need his scoring, but even if he doesn't, when he gets his 8,9 and 10 assists a game it makes us a better team."
Hawking's occasional flashy play contrasts with Simi Valley's reserved style.
"We've been real intense, and practices have been long and hard," Hawking said. "But the last couple of weeks we've been playing more relaxed, but with the same intensity.
"At Santa Clara, we beat them in their gym, which isn't easy to do."
Hawking's spontaneity could help ease the pressure Simi Valley might be feeling as the playoffs near.
The Pioneers and Coach Bob Hawking have heard whispers that their No. 1 4-A ranking--along with their inability to win a 4-A title the past two years--has them taking the game too seriously. Last season, Simi Valley was upset in the 4-A quarterfinals by eventual champion Santa Monica.
"I don't think they realize that every time we play somebody they're at their best," DeLaittre said. "I look at some of the other teams, like Glendora and Beverly Hills, there's going to be some good games. I don't want the same thing to happen as last year."
A new cast?: North Hollywood Coach Steve Miller awaits the doctor's report today to discover whether the team has lost starting forward Alan Breslauer for the rest of the season or merely two weeks. Breslauer injured his right ankle in Thursday's practice.
The 6-3 senior, who is averaging 10.9 points and 5.0 rebounds, has worn a cast since Thursday.
Senior Rashe Dorsey replaced Breslauer on Friday and sophomore Orlando Myricks has been promoted from the junior varsity, giving the Huskies (11-4 and 4-1 in East Valley League play) four sophomores. Myricks' fellow 10th-graders are starters Dana Jones and Thomas Byrdsong, plus reserve Duane Braxton.
Tested Faith: So much for great expectations. When Faith Baptist traveled to Crossroads on Saturday, first-year Coach Dean Lobdell expected his team to contend with the Roadrunners, who have won Southern Section titles four of the past six years.
Instead, the Contenders never lived up to their names. Crossroads won, 58-33, to drop Faith Baptist (10-5, 3-2) into third place in the Delphic League.
Lobdell said his team was tense before the game and did not relax in time. "We were too pumped up," Lobdell said.
The Contenders were so excited, in fact, they forgot how to score, shooting 22% in the second half.
Westwood-bound: Dave Audelo of Canoga Park, a 6-4 1/2, 270-pound offensive tackle, has made a verbal commitment to play football for UCLA next season.
Audelo had narrowed his choices to UCLA, USC, Colorado and Stanford before deciding to attend the Westwood school. He canceled recruiting trips to USC and Stanford after visiting UCLA on Saturday.
"I loved the program, the coaching staff and the campus," Audelo said. "Once I went there to visit, I knew it was the place for me."
Audelo, a Times All-Valley second-team selection, was relieved after making the decision.
"The coaches all want you to make a decision as early as possible," he said. "But they don't have to worry about it, you do."
Players may sign national letters of intent Feb. 10.
Honor roll: Brian Jacobs of Hart and J. J Lasley of Crespi have been named to the California Football magazine's scholastic team.
Jacobs, a 6-5, 255-pound two-time Times All-Valley lineman, helped Hart advance to the semifinal round of the Northwestern Conference playoffs. Lasley, a 6-1, 205-pound fullback-linebacker, rushed for 928 yards in 155 carries (8.7 per carry). Lasley had 12 rushing touchdowns and 14 overall for the Celts, who lost in the semifinal round of the Big Five Conference playoffs.
Back to the court: San Fernando Coach Dick Crowell said that junior guard Sean Williams is likely to return to the team for today's Northwest Valley League showdown at Granada Hills. Williams, whose academic eligibility has been questioned by a teacher, sat on the bench last week as a precautionary measure until administrators can review the case.
"We're confident that he will be ruled eligible," Crowell said. "It's just a procedural matter."
Today's game is for first place. San Fernando is 11-4 and 5-0 in league play; Granada Hills is 8-4 and 4-1.
Staff writers Vince Kowalick, Chris J. Parker, John Ortega and Sean Waters contributed to this notebook.