Oxnard College's inconsistency has frustrated Coach Remy McCarthy to the point where the second-year coach isn't sure what kind of Condor team will take the floor in games at El Camino and Chaffey this week.
Oxnard has beaten strong teams such as L.A. City, Hancock, and MiraCosta. But the Condors have been beaten by mediocre teams like Porterville and San Diego City.
"We've beaten some of the best teams in the state, then turned around and lost to some of the worst," McCarthy said. "It's a little puzzling."
McCarthy was scratching his head after a 71-70 loss to San Diego City on Friday.
"With all due respect to San Diego City's players and coach, they just aren't a very strong team," McCarthy said. "That's a team we have to beat. I don't care if their coach's brother and sister-in-law are the referees."
Oxnard, however, came back with a win over a talented MiraCosta team.
"The only good thing that I can possibly say is that we got our act together and beat a good team."
Slowly but surely: Ventura College, which lost two championship games in its previous three tournaments this season, finally won a trophy Saturday when it beat Rio Hondo for the consolation championship of the Pasadena tournament.
Ventura lost to Rancho Santiago in overtime, then rebounded with a win over fourth-ranked El Camino and a blowout of Rio Hondo for the consolation title.
"It's hardware, but the wrong kind of hardware," Ventura Coach Phil Mathews said.
Mathews said the inexperienced Pirates are slowly developing into the type of team he wants to put on the hardwood when Western State Conference play begins Jan. 3 at Cuesta.
"We have the potential to be good," Mathews said. "We just aren't doing the things that elite teams have to do to win ballgames."
Lester Neal grabbed a season-high 20 rebounds in the loss to Rancho Santiago and came back with a 15-rebound effort in the win over El Camino. Ventura will be without Reggie Betton for seven weeks because Betton re-injured a stress fracture in his right shin.
"We were pretty deep in the first place, and guys like Terrence Lamb, Uba Satterfield, and Dijon Bernard have picked up the slack," Mathews said.
Ventura will compete in the L.A. Valley tournament this week. It met Trade Tech at 6 p.m. Tuesday, with the winner meeting the Hancock-L.A. City victor on Thursday.
No signings: According to Steve Tobias, Ventura College's defensive coordinator, no Pirates have signed letters-of-intent since the signing period began two weeks ago.
"There are a lot of offers out there, and still a lot of visits in the works," Tobias said. Tobias doesn't expect any Pirate commitments to Division I or II schools until January, when the players have been able to use all of their visits to universities.
Back on defense: One of Ventura County's hardest working coaches, Dick Sebek of Nordhoff High, will spend the next week flat on his back recuperating from surgery.
Sebek, the Rangers boys' basketball coach, underwent his second back surgery in three years Monday at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara.
Sebek will miss the Rangers' game Friday at Bishop Diego and possibly next week's Ventura tournament. The team will be run by Mike Probyn, the junior varsity coach.
Nordhoff won the Fillmore tournament last week by defeating the host team in the final.
Sebek said he first felt back pains three years ago and had an operation to repair a herniated disc. Monday's operation was to remove scar tissue, Sebek said.
"The pain flaired up about three months ago," Sebek said. "It came down to having the surgery now or in two months when the season is over. The pain was bad and my doctor said it wasn't worth the risk to wait.
"Luckily, the operation worked with our schedule and I should only miss one game."
Football honors: Santa Clara High quarterback Tim Gutierrez, who threw for 2,960 yards and 18 touchdowns in 13 games, was selected co-player of the year in the Southern Section Division VIII.
Gutierrez's career total of 7,272 yards placed him third on the Southern Section all-time list, fifth in state and ninth nationally.
Gutierrez, a 6-3 senior who passed for 52 touchdowns, shared the MVP honor with senior Tim Manning of Trabuco Hills, who won its second consecutive divisional title with a 13-7 win over Orange.
Both were selected to the first team last season.
Santa Clara, which was 10-3 overall, was eliminated by Trabuco Hills in the semifinals, 48-21.
Lineman Ted Lawrence, the son of first-year coach Larry Lawrence, all-purpose player Kwinn Knight, and kicker Aaron Clark were other Saints selected to the first team.
In Division IX, Tory Cabral of Fillmore was the only offensive player selected to the first team from the Ventura County area. Defensive lineman Victor Magdaleno and Linebackers Mike Kozar of Fillmore and Tom Uphoff of Moorpark were picked for the defensive team.
Cabral rushed for 1,555 yards in 188 carries to lead Ventura County in yardage.