Rich Toschi must feel like a guy using an 8-iron in a long-drive contest. In four years as basketball coach at Fillmore High, he has never had a player taller than 6-3. Lack of height has been a blight for the Flashes, who have reached unimagined depths this season, winning only two of 18 games and none in nine Tri-Valley League games.
"We're the smallest team in the league, plus we're inexperienced," Toschi lamented. "But the morale is pretty good. The kids understand we don't have the height to match up."
There have been flashes of quality in Fillmore's play, however. Senior center Todd Inglis (6-1) is dwarfed by most of his league counterparts, including 6-6 Andy Wagoner of St. Bonaventure. Yet Inglis has grabbed 5.9 rebounds and scored 8.9 points a game.
Brad Edmonds, a 6-1 junior forward, averages 9.8 points and 5-7 junior guard Tony Cervantez scores 8.3 points a game. Even in losses, the Flashes often let their opponent know it has been in a game.
"We can be physical," Toschi said.
But until tall players enroll at Fillmore, the team will be at a decided physical disadvantage.
New heights: Playing center for the Fillmore freshman team is a somewhat gawky Mike Richardson, who nevertheless possesses something precious--a 6-5 frame.
"That's the bright spot in the program," Toschi said.
Richardson, who is averaging 12 points a game, has a nice shooting touch and has helped the freshmen Flashes to a 14-4 record.
Add Fillmore: The Flashes hold one of the longest-standing marks in the Southern Section record book--least points scored in a victory.
Fillmore beat Van Nuys, 10-6, in 1926, which is also the lowest total score ever in the Southern Section.
Last add Fillmore: Center Loni Larson has been a dominant player for the girls' team. She scored 29 points and grabbed 18 rebounds in a 52-38 win over Moorpark last week. Fillmore is 7-2 in the Tri-Valley League and 12-5 overall.
No happy returns: Bob Swisher, a long-time assistant to Santa Clara High Coach Lou Cvijanovich, is in his second year as coach at Marion High in San Diego. Swisher brought his team up for a nonleague against the Saints on Saturday night and returned home saddled with a 55-40 loss. Marion is 4-13.
Stat corner: After Robert Secrest made the first three-point shot of the game, Hueneme High missed 14 consecutive three-point attempts in a 72-56 loss to Ventura last week. Meanwhile, Ventura's Joe Paul made 5 of 7 from three-point range. . . . Buena's Shawn Kirkeby, a 6-10 center, has made 66% of his field-goal attempts and teammate Jeff Oliver is shooting 44% from beyond the three-point line.
Race for second: Early on, it appeared Thousand Oaks or Royal might finish behind overwhelming favorite Simi Valley in the Marmonte League. Then Camarillo made a move. Now it looks like Channel Islands and Westlake, the Southern Section 4-A Division runner-up last season, have the best shot at finishing second.
Channel Islands is 5-4 after Monday's 63-58 win over Camarillo, and Westlake is 5-3, having won its fifth consecutive game Monday night.
Bounce back: Joe Vaughan's Buena High girls' team recovered nicely from the shock of losing its first Channel League game since 1984, a 74-53 decision to Santa Barbara, winning three games last week by a combined score of 264-98.
The Lady Bulldogs, intent on remaining one game behind Santa Barbara until the next time the teams' clash, whipped Oxnard, Rio Mesa and San Marcos in succession.
Joannie Weinerth, a junior guard, scored 56 points in the three games and senior forward Stephanie Rainwater added 54. Weinerth had been averaging nine points before her recent spree.
Record setter: Kris Pederson became the all-time Thousand Oaks High girls' scorer last week when she scored her 9th and 10th points of the third quarter against Channel Islands.
Pederson, a senior forward, has 762 points, breaking the record of Barbara Flynn, who had 761 points from 1981-83. Flynn was the third baseman on Cal State Northridge's national championship softball team last season.
Breaking ground: Bob Richards of Thousand Oaks High will be the first Ventura County coach to direct a team in the 38 years of the prestigious Shrine game. Richards will coach the South on July 23 at the Rose Bowl.
Thousand Oaks won its first Southern Section championship last season, taking the Coastal Conference with a record of 12-1-1.
Abandon ship: Four of five players expected to return for Ventura College golf Coach Brian Marshall won't be back.
The Pirates won the Western State Conference championship last season for their fifth title in six years, but repeating this time won't be easy.
Sophomore John Johnson, who was second in the Southern California championships last year, is academically ineligible. Among others not returning are Craig Gibbs, who was No. 2 in the conference last season.
Fortunately for Marshall, a golfer who is back for his sophomore season is Lee Martin, a Rio Mesa High graduate who is the county's defending champion.
JC Watch: Moorpark College had a wonderful week in the eyes of Ventura Coach Phil Mathews. The Raiders were drubbed by Ventura, 96-75, then bounced back to edge highly rated Allan Hancock, 63-61.
Moorpark couldn't contain Ventura's Cedric Ceballos, who scored 34 points. But a tip-in by Fred Parks of a missed free throw with 15 seconds to play gave the Raiders the upset over Hancock.
Another bad break: Pepperdine point guard Marty Wilson had his season end prematurely when he tore knee ligaments two weeks against Portland.
Wilson, who was Ventura County Player of the Year in 1984 at Simi Valley High, was forced to redshirt last season because of a protruding disk. He was averaging 5.5 points, 3.6 rebounds and 6.5 assists.