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Notebook / Sean Waters : Leon and Michelle Continue Palmisano Basketball Legacy

December 08, 1988|Sean Waters

Don't be surprised to see the name Palmisano show up in box scores for more than one high school this season. A family name that is synonymous with good basketball continues to spread throughout the county faster than convenience stores.

There's Leon, a senior at Santa Clara, and Michelle, a freshman at Thousand Oaks.

Past Palmisano stars include Dina, Marguerite, John and Jerry, all at St. Bonaventure. And Teresa, the most noteworthy, at Buena.

In case you lost track, that's 7 basketball-playing Palmisanos at 4 different high schools. One other--Joe Palmisano III--played tennis at Buena. And, they are all children of Joe and Mary Palmisano of Ventura.

The migration of a Palmisano from one school to another began with Jerry, who transferred in 1985 from St. Bonaventure to Buena for his senior year.

The latest was Leon, who last year left Buena to attend Santa Clara.

The most controversial was Michelle, who starts at guard for Thousand Oaks instead of Buena, where her sister, Teresa, was a high school All-American.

No hard feelings: Buena Coach Joe Vaughan insists that he is not bitter about losing Michelle Palmisano to a rival program.

"I don't want anyone to come here that's not comfortable with me or the program," Vaughan said. "It's not healthy for the program and it causes animosity among the players."

Some area coaches question the legality of the Palmisanos' attending different schools because the family has never moved from their home in Ventura. But according to the Southern Section office, the Palmisanos and the schools involved completed the necessary paper work and have followed the rule book to the letter.

Leon, for example, was not allowed to play above junior varsity level in football, basketball or baseball 1 year after his transfer.

Dina took legal guardianship of her younger sister Michelle, and they live within the Thousand Oaks boundaries.

All this means is that the Palmisanos are willing to drive the extra mile to see their family be happy on a basketball court.

"I would see two, sometimes three games in one day," Joe Palmisano II said. "I don't mind spreading it around. Some of my kids wanted to play for one coach or program and some for another. I believe in doing what's best for my family."

Blazing star: Teresa Palmisano, who received a scholarship to Cal, averaged 14.3 points and 6.5 rebounds a game and was selected to the All-Pacific 10 Conference freshman team. She also was named to the Freshmen Fastbreak All-American team, a national all-star team selected by sportswriters.

Bad host: The 12th Buena-Kiwanis girls' basketball tournament begins today and the host Bulldogs have won every championship.

A Bulldog also has been named tournament MVP every year except once. Paula Getty, who played for Royal and now is the team's coach, was MVP in 1983.

Royal, however, will not be in this year's tournament. Neither will San Marcos and Marina.

"Some teams thought they were in over their heads," Vaughan said. "I think there will be a different atmosphere this season with three new teams that play a different style of basketball. I hope to pick up a few coaching tips."

The new teams are Huntington Beach Edison, East Bakersfield and Arroyo Grande.

Here are pairings:

4 p.m.--East Bakersfield vs. Newbury Park; 5:30 p.m.--Santa Clara vs. Simi Valley; 7 p.m.--Ventura vs. Edison; 8:30 p.m.--Arroyo Grande vs. Buena.

The Nordhoff girls' tournament also begins today with St. Bonaventure playing Santa Paula at 3 p.m. The second round of the St. Bonaventure-Ventura Elks boys' tournament continues at 4 p.m. today.

Shocking finish: Moorpark College Coach Jim Bittner reacted with surprise after Paul Peters returned a punt 84 yards for the game-winning touchdown with 1:37 left to play to give Rancho Santiago a 17-10 victory over Moorpark in the PONY Bowl at Orange Coast College last week.

Bittner said that he expected the game to end in a tie because he believed Peters stepped out of bounds.

"It was a shock to me because I felt sure he was out of bounds," Bittner said. "We weren't really concerned about him returning the punt."

Moorpark (9-2), ranked ninth in the state by the JC Athletic Bureau, led, 10-7, going into the fourth quarter. The Dons tied the score on Tim Snitko's 45-yard field goal with 3:16 to play before Peters' game-winning punt return.

Moorpark has made 2 bowl appearances in the past 4 years and lost both times. Pierce defeated Moorpark, 27-14, in the 1985 Brahma Bowl.

Repeating nightmare: Coach Al Nordquist might have felt a sense of deja vu after Pasadena City College defeated Moorpark in the final of the Moorpark basketball tournament.

Pasadena has defeated Moorpark (6-2) in the final of both the PONY and Moorpark tournaments.

Fortunately for Moorpark, it will not have to play Pasadena at the Mid-State tournament at Cuesta College today through Saturday. The Raiders will face Pasadena again at the Crown City Classic on Dec. 15-16.

Ralph Nichols contributed to this notebook.

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