The Cypress College women's basketball team, despite being in first place in the Orange Empire Conference, is having a tough time gaining recognition this season.
The problem starts with the college. Cypress has long been known as a men's basketball power under Coach Don Johnson. The men's team is 22-5, ranked fifth in the state and in first place in the Orange Empire Conference. The Cypress women are 18-7 overall and 5-0 at the halfway point of the conference season.
Then there's the local competition. The Fullerton and Golden West women's teams, which play in the South Coast Conference, have been two of the most dominating teams in the state. Top-ranked Golden West (24-1), ranked No. 1 in the state, has won 23 games in a row this season. Fullerton (18-7) has the same overall record as Cypress and is ranked eighth in the state. Cypress hasn't made the top 10 all season even though it has an impressive record and all five starters are averaging in double figures.
"We can never have it all to ourselves," said Gerry Livsey, Cypress coach. "It seems that each time we are good, we have to share it with someone. I'd hoped we'd be pretty good with our sophomores coming back, and they really have the heart for it this season."
One of the main reasons for Cypress' success is the play of Vicky Silva, a 5-foot 7-inch freshman guard from Fullerton High School. She leads the team in scoring (16-point average), rebounds (9) and assists (5.4).
Sophomore guard Karen Caires is averaging 12 points a game, sophomore guard Vennetta Dorlis 11.4, sophomore forward Janene Allen 10.6 and freshman forward Becky Wayland 11.3.
"If a team tries to stop one player, it seems we always have someone else to pick it up," Livsey said. "It's kind of nice to have that many options."
Hey, no fair! Despite the objections of Coach Bill Brummel, the Saddleback men's basketball team played almost a minute with just four players on the court in the Gauchos' 70-61 loss to Rancho Santiago Saturday.
The odd series of events started with 2:39 left in the game when Saddleback's Vincent Smalls was called for his fifth foul.
Brummel then was called for a technical, and the officials sent Rancho Santiago's Tony Smalley to the line to shoot a one-and-one without allowing Saddleback the allotted 30 seconds to replace Smalls.
Rancho Santiago's Kenny Ammann then shot the technicals. He made both and Rancho Santiago led, 59-41. Rancho Santiago inbounded the ball, uncovering an obvious void in Saddleback's defense as the Gauchos started to match up. Saddleback, out of timeouts, was forced to play the next 55 seconds a man down.
The personnel shortage didn't affect Saddleback on offense, however. The Gauchos went on a 5-0 run, including a three-point basket by Renny Ingram during the 55 seconds.
"That's how weird a game it was," said Dana Pagett, Rancho Santiago coach.
How about that Ammann, the Rancho Santiago sophomore guard who leads Orange County in scoring, averaging 22 points a game? Ammann, a graduate of Edison High School and transfer from Cal State Bakersfield, is also pretty impressive from the free-throw line. He is 30 of 32 (94%) in Orange Empire Conference play and 108 of 124 (87%) for the season.
But don't forget Jim Sammon. Sammon, a sophomore guard for Cypress, set the college's all-time assist record Saturday in the Chargers' 78-59 victory at Riverside. Sammon has 292 assists in his two-year career at Cypress. Mark Campanaro held the previous record, with 286 assists (1972-74).
Sammon also is having a good season at the free-throw line, making 29 of 32 (90%) in conference and 87 of 104 (83%) overall.
Cypress (22-5, 5-0) is shooting 106 of 131 (81%) as a team in conference.
"I don't even want to comment on that," Johnson, Cypress coach, said last week. "I don't want to say anything that might jinx us."
By the way, Johnson ran his coaching record to 450-188 Saturday.
Community College Notes
Don Rowe, a physical education instructor at Golden West who was named the pitching coach of the Chicago White Sox last week, will join a former Rustler and current New York Met, Kevin Elster, in Golden West's alumni game Saturday at noon. Ray Krawczky of the Angels and Jeff Heathcock of the Astros, both former Golden West players, also are expected to play. . . . Tom Hermstad, son of Golden West Athletic Director Tom Hermstad, will be honored by the Long Beach Century Club, which recognizes high school and college athletic performances. Hermstad was a member of the 1987 California NCAA water polo championship team and a second-team All-American.