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No Suspense as Leagues Wind Down

February 11, 1988|MIKE HISERMAN | Times Staff Writer

Ventura County boys' basketball teams showed little flair for the dramatic with teams having clinched at least a tie for the championships in all four leagues entering the last week of the regular season.

Simi Valley is the champion of the Marmonte League for the third consecutive year, Santa Clara won its ninth Frontier League title in 10 years, and surprising Buena had sewn up at least a tie for the Channel League crown.

There was one shocking result, however, and that took place in the Tri-Valley League as St. Bonaventure won its first boys' basketball title in school history.

And the Seraphs did it in typically unusual fashion. Not many teams could win shooting only 29% in a game and without making a field-goal attempt in the final quarter. Especially when Santa Ynez, defending Tri-Valley League champion, was the opponent.

But that is exactly what the Seraphs did last Friday in the biggest game in the school's 22 years of basketball.

Andy Wagoner, the Seraph's 6-6 senior center, was the hero in a 41-39 victory. He made both ends of a one-and-one with one second left.

Marc Groff should take his share of the credit--for the second time this season the St. Bonaventure coach crossed up the Pirates with his strategy.

Last month, the Seraphs used a stall to upset Santa Ynez, 30-26. Determined not to let that happen again, the Pirates tried to implement a half-court trap early in Friday's game.

Only this time St. Bonaventure was content to run its normal, ball-control offense.

"I know they weren't expecting it, but I thought playing here at this point in the season, we could play them straight up," Groff said.

Even after its first victory over Santa Ynez on the Pirates' home court, St. Bonaventure was the subject of skepticism from opposing coaches who questioned whether the Seraphs were legitimate title contenders.

"When you win using a gimmick, people say you can do it once but probably not again," Groff said. "I could see where they might have had doubts.

"I didn't, but nobody asked me."

Groff said he thought a league championship was a legitimate goal for his team from the start.

"I knew it wasn't going to be easy, " he said. "Of course, I had no foresight that we'd win it on a four-point stall and two points at the buzzer."

That Wagoner got a chance to win the game with the free throws was as much of a surprise as anything.

Jeff Miller of Santa Ynez missed a jump shot with five seconds to play and Wagoner was fouled in a scramble for the rebound.

"We had no chance to score," Groff said. "He was just trying to hang onto the ball. We were going overtime."

The Seraphs can post a 20-victory season with wins in their last two league games.

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