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January 13, 1994


Will Pepperdine win its fourth consecutive regular season title? Will Loyola win a game?

Answers to these and other questions will begin to unfold Friday night when Loyola (1-10) meets St. Mary's (7-4) at Gersten Pavilion and Pepperdine (8-4) plays Santa Clara (7-5) at Firestone Fieldhouse in West Coast Conference basketball openers. The local teams switch opponents Saturday night. Tipoff for all games is 7:05.

Loyola last won a WCC game last January against St. Mary's, 59-55, before ending the 1992-93 season with 10 consecutive defeats. The Lions' losing streak stretched to 19 games, the longest among NCAA Division I teams, before it beat Buffalo, 93-77, Friday night at Gersten Pavilion.

But Loyola was unable to start a winning streak, losing at Oral Roberts, 83-69, Monday night. Center Wyking Jones led the Lions with 28 points.

The Pepperdine-Santa Clara game matches the WCC preseason favorites. In their last meeting, Santa Clara upset conference champion Pepperdine in the final of the WCC tournament to earn a berth in the NCAA tournament and keep the Waves from participating in March Madness.

Hmmm. Wonder if Pepperdine Coach Tom Asbury will bring that up Friday?


Two of the area's top prep girls' basketball teams will meet when Bishop Montgomery visits St. Bernard in a Mission League game at 7:30 tonight.

St. Bernard (15-2), ranked No. 1 in the Westside, features a dominating front court led by 6-foot-3 senior forward Olympia Scott, who has signed with Stanford. The defending State Division IV champions also feature 6-4 senior center Marte Alexander, who has signed with Arizona.

The Vikings' only losses have come against Lynwood and Niddrie of Australia.

Bishop Montgomery (12-5), ranked third in the South Bay, is coming off a 56-42 league defeat to powerful Alemany, expected to challenge St. Bernard for the Mission title. Guard Shelley Dungo, who scored 22 points against Alemany, leads the Knights.


If Friday's opener between Mira Costa and Beverly Hills was any indication, the Ocean League boys' basketball race should provide plenty of excitement.

Mira Costa forward Phil Fonua, showing that football isn't his only sport, broke a tie with two free throws and grabbed a key rebound in the final minute of overtime to help the Mustangs turn back the visiting Normans, 60-57.

The 6-2, 265-pound Fonua, an All-Southern Section defensive lineman on the Mustangs' Division VII champion football team, finished with 18 points.

Afterward, coaches Glenn Marx of Mira Costa and Jason Newman of Beverly Hills said the down-to-the-wire game was a preview of things to come in the competitive league, although Culver City dominated Morningside, 96-67, in Friday's other opener.

In games Friday night, Ocean favorite Redondo travels to meet defending champion Morningside and Mira Costa plays at Culver City. Redondo defeated Morningside, 70-51, last month in the semifinals of the Pacific Shores tournament.

The Sea Hawks, though, might be without 6-6 center Brian Hattingh, who sprained his left ankle last week in an 86-64 nonleague loss to Inglewood at Redondo.


Banning guard Jason Pickett and El Camino College forward Joe Zaletel continue to light up the scoreboard.

Pickett, the South Bay's leading prep scorer with close to a 30-point average, scored a game-high 36 Friday, including 15 in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough as Banning lost to Dorsey, 83-79, in a Southern Pacific Conference opener at Dorsey.

Zaletel, a 6-7 sophomore from Torrance High, scored 40 points for the second time this season in El Camino's 100-75 victory over the Australian Junior national team last week. Zaletel is averaging close to 30 points a game.

Zaletel will lead the Warriors against Harbor in a South Coast Conference opener at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at El Camino.

Those wanting to catch Pickett's act can take in Banning's conference game at 4 p.m. Friday at Washington.


Carlos Paul, point guard for Cal State Dominguez Hills, was named California Collegiate Athletic Assn. player of the week after helping the Toros (11-3) to a 2-0 conference start.

Paul, a 6-1 junior from Gary, Ind., averaged 20.5 points in victories over Cal State San Bernardino, 66-57, Thursday and Cal Poly Pomona, 90-63, Saturday at Dominguez Hills. He scored 24 against Pomona.

At 11-3, the Toros have matched the starts of the last two Toro teams to win the CCAA championship. The 1980-81 team started 11-3 and went on to post a 20-5 record and reach the round of 16 at the NCAA Division II tournament. The 1986-87 Toros also started 11-3 before finishing 22-9 and losing to top-ranked Alaska-Anchorage in double overtime in the NCAA round of 32.

Dominguez Hills goes on the road this week, facing Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (6-8, 0-1) tonight and Cal State Bakersfield (13-2, 1-0) Saturday night in CCAA games. Bakersfield, the defending Division II national champion, has won its last 11 games.


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