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COLLEGE NOTEBOOK : Beal Helps Short Lineup Stand Tall for Canyons

December 21, 1989

Now that Lee Smelser, basketball coach at College of the Canyons, has moved 6-foot-4 freshman Mike Beal into the starting lineup, it doesn't take much imagination to see the Cougars fielding a five-guard lineup.

Obviously, Canyons still has inside players, but the starters either play like guards, have the physique of guards, or both.

Point guard Tom Kelly (5-foot-9) and shooting guard Steve Valenzuela (6-2) are pure guards. Larry Allbritton (6-4) is listed as a guard and plays like a shooting guard but starts at forward if the Cougar lineup follows the traditional scheme of a center, two forwards and two guards.

Aaron Clark (6-3), Allbritton's running mate at forward, is in Smelser's estimation "really an off-guard."

Beal replaced 6-8 center Justin Scott and grabbed 16 rebounds against East Los Angeles, but Beal will almost always be dwarfed by rival pivot men.

"He's a real quick jumper, though," said Smelser, who believes he is now fielding his best possible lineup. "Beal is just getting better numbers now. . . . We've had a couple of good ballgames the last few times out."

Not surprisingly, Canyons' mighty mites have consistently been outrebounded.

"I don't know what the opponents have," Smelser said, "but that's been one of our weak spots . . . the ability to get the ball off a missed shot."

Until proven otherwise, though, Canyons will continue to believe that good things come in small packages.

Honor roll: Walter Briggs, a former Antelope Valley High standout, has been selected most valuable player on the University of Hawaii's Aloha Bowl-bound football team.

Briggs, a 6-0, 195-pound senior free safety, finished the regular season fifth in the nation with nine interceptions and was a first-team All-Western Athletic Conference selection.

Briggs was a United Press International second-team All-American selection.

Uncommon opponents: Cal State Northridge may face better basketball players than Demetrius Mitchell of Cal State Hayward and Mark Hill of Cal State Fullerton, but the Matadors may not see many who are more exciting.

Mitchell, a 5-11, 198-pound junior from McClymonds High in Oakland, scored 19 points, including 17 in the second half, against the Matadors. Hill, a 6-4, 185 senior from Locke, rained down long-range jump shots on Northridge on his way to a game-high 29 points.

Hill made a school-record eight of 12 three-point shots against Northridge--most of them coming from well beyond the three-point line. Mitchell had two spectacular breakaway dunks against the Matadors that left a small crowd trading high-fives in the bleachers.

Mitchell's first dunk was a 360-degree, two-hand jam.

And he was just warming up. The second one was a 480-degree--one and a third revolutions--right-handed stuff that sent the audience into hysterics.

"You worry when a guy does that," Northridge Coach Pete Cassidy said of Mitchell. "It can really get a team fired up."

Although Northridge's coaches and players were well aware of Hill's shooting talents, the Matador players and coaches did not expect him to shoot as well as he did.

"He just went off on us," Northridge swingman Derrick Gathers said. "There was no stopping him. He was on fire."

Cold customers: Kris Brodowski, starting center on the CSUN basketball team, had nightmarish shooting performances against Cal State Hayward and Cal State Fullerton last week.

The 6-foot-6 senior went 0 for the week in field-goal attempts. He was zero for nine in a 66-56 Matador victory over Hayward and missed all four shots in an 81-70 loss to Fullerton.

Brodowski started the week shooting 47.6% from the field and averaging 10.4 points a game. Those figures dropped to 36.4 and 7.9.

Guard Eugene Humphrey came close to matching Brodowski's frigid shooting against Hayward before correcting his sights against Fullerton.

After making just two of nine shots against Hayward, the 6-0 junior guard made eight of 10 against the Division I Titans, including six of his last seven.

Happy hosts: Before Glendale won the championship in the Glendale tournament, Valley-area men's basketball teams had been better hosts than Arsenio Hall.

Glendale's victory broke a distressing trend for Valley-area men's basketball teams. No other local school had won the championship of its own tournament.

Antelope Valley finished third in its tournament after losing to eventual champion Santa Monica. Moorpark lost the championship game of the Moorpark tournament to San Jose City College.

Glendale exercised the host's prerogative by putting itself in the easier bracket but didn't give itself any breaks by including three of the state's top-20 teams in the eight-school field. Glendale won the championship with an impressive 68-55 win over ninth-ranked Cypress.

Valley is playing host to a tournament this week, and the other Valley-area school, Canyons, will play host to the first Cougar Classic, Dec. 27-29.

Staff writers Mike Hiserman, John Ortega and Brendan Healey contributed to this notebook.

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