This will be a season remembered for the accomplishments of a team--Santa Clara High--that brought home Ventura County's first state basketball championship. Certainly, the Saints exemplified teamwork through a tenacious man-to-man defense and deliberate offensive style that placed a premium on sharp passes and high-percentage shots.
It is appropriate, therefore, that The Times' Ventura County all-star team be just that--a collection of players who could form an excellent team.
"There was talent in the county at every position this year," said Rio Mesa Coach Steve Wolf, who led his team to the Channel League title.
At center is 6-foot-9 Kurt Schwan, the Marmonte League most valuable player. Schwan led the county in rebounding and at times was dominant on offense for Westlake.
At power forward are Santa Clara's Bubba Burrage and Buena's Adan Valencia, both physical players underneath the basket who also have the athletic ability to run the fast break.
Small forward is perhaps the strongest position. Shon Tarver, Santa Clara's 6-5 junior, is joined by Rio Mesa's versatile Jeff Garner and Newbury Park's Wayne Cook, a three-sport athlete who led the county in scoring. Rio Mesa's Eric Thomas, a junior who is a repeat selection all-star, can play at either forward spot.
The shooting guards are Jeff Marciano, who set a Simi Valley record for three-point accuracy, and Camarillo's David Harbour, the team's only sophomore. Harbour scored 20 or more points 14 times.
The point guard is junior Jeff Oliver, an intelligent ball handler who controls the tempo for high-scoring Buena.
Santa Clara, to be sure, had the dream season. Other schools--Rio Mesa, Buena and Marmonte League co-champions Camarillo and Simi Valley--enjoyed fine seasons as well.
But the dream team is formed by putting together the county's 10 all-stars.
A look at each player:
Bubba Burrage--The Santa Clara senior enjoyed an excellent regular season, but he really took charge during the Saints' journey through the Southern Section and state playoffs. Burrage, a forward, made 11 of 14 shots in the state final and shot 59% from the field and 94% from the free-throw line during the playoffs. Burrage, who led the Saints with 8.1 rebounds per game, took it upon himself to take charge in big games.
Wayne Cook--After earning a football scholarship to UCLA, Cook proved that he is an outstanding basketball player as well. The senior forward from Newbury Park led the county with an average of 22.6 points a game, shooting 48% from the field and 42% from three-point range. Cook, who also averaged a team-high 10.1 rebounds, finished in the top five in the school record book in every offensive category.
David Harbour--A sophomore, Harbour had a profound impact on his team's fortunes--Camarillo (18-7) was 14-0 when he scored 20 or more points. Harbour, the only sophomore on the all-star team, led the Marmonte League co-champions in scoring in 17 of the 21 games he played. Unafraid of mixing it up inside, Harbour led the team with 6.3 rebounds a game and he also averaged 4.0 assists.
Jeff Garner--The senior forward help direct Rio Mesa to the Channel League title through his solid all-around play and leadership. Garner was foremost a shooter, leading the team with a scoring average of 21.2. He made 58.3% of his two-point shots and 41 of 100 three-point shots. Garner, whose level of play improved dramatically from a year ago, also hit 78.3% of his free throws and was second on the team with 160 rebounds.
Jeff Oliver--In his second season of varsity play, the Buena junior made a successful switch from off-guard to point guard. Oliver was able to control the tempo of games--he keyed Buena's fast-paced offense--and still found time to make 79 three-point shots and average 16.8 points a game. Oliver, who was a second-team selection last season, ranked third in the county with 6.7 assists a game and hit 74% of his free throws.
Jeff Marciano--Simi Valley was supposedly in a rebuilding year after losing three All-Southern Section players, but the Pioneers became the Marmonte League co-champion largely because of Marciano's play. The senior was in his first varsity season but became the most accurate three-point shooter in school history, making 47%. Marciano led the Pioneers with 16.0 points a game and settled into a leadership role despite his inexperience.
Kurt Schwan--The Westlake senior was named most valuable player in the Marmonte League after leading the county with 11.1 rebounds a game. Schwan, the only center on The Times' all-star team, also made 55.3% of his field-goal attempts and 73% of his free throws to lead the Warriors to the Southern Section 4-A playoffs. On certain nights, Schwan was the most dominant player in the county. He will attend Weber State.