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COMMUNITY COLLEGE NOTEBOOK / STEVE KRESAL

Early Success Stuns Cypress Basketball

November 15, 1994|STEVE KRESAL

When Cypress started play in the Barstow men's basketball tournament last Thursday, first-year Coach Paul Bottiaux had a simple goal--to play three games.

His fear was losing the first two in the double-elimination format.

He never considered the eventual outcome: winning the tournament.

Cypress started the season with only three returning players, including starters Matt Kenney and Jeff Cummins.

"We really had no idea what we were going to play like," said Bottiaux, who took over for Don Johnson. Johnson, the winningest community college men's basketball coach in the history of California, retired last spring. Bottiaux was an assistant to Johnson for seven seasons.

Cypress opened with a 91-69 victory over a team from Miramar Naval Air Station, then beat Barstow, 100-65.

This left Cypress facing Riverside for the championship. Riverside is the favorite to win Orange Empire Conference title. Cypress was picked to finish seventh.

Cypress played awkwardly in the first few minutes, but recovered and went on to beat the Tigers, 70-68. A three-point attempt by Riverside bounced away as time ran out.

"We played really hard," Bottiaux said. "We battled and it just happened to come out our way."

Cummins, who averaged 18 points, eight rebounds and four assists, was the tournament's most valuable player. Kenney made 12 of 19 three-pointers in the tournament and Cypress made 34 of 75 (45%) as a team.

Gil Gonzales, a freshman guard from Orange High, tied a Cypress single-game record for three-pointers with eight in the victory over Barstow. The Chargers also got a boost from David Neal, another freshman from Orange. He averaged eight assists.

"The No. 1 thing about the weekend was that we were able to get away and come together as a team," Bottiaux said.

*

Water polo: Golden West and Long Beach, which have played each other the three previous Saturdays, are hoping for another meeting Saturday in the State tournament title game.

In Friday's first-round games at Long Beach Belmont Plaza: Diablo Valley plays Cuesta at 8 a.m.; Golden West takes on West Valley at 9:15 a.m.; Long Beach plays Modesto at 10:30 a.m., and Merced plays Citrus at 11:45 a.m.

The semifinals are at 4:30 and 5:45 p.m. Friday and the title game is Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

Golden West comes in with a 27-3 record, with all three losses to Long Beach. The Vikings are 23-4, losing three times to Golden West.

The teams split meetings in tournaments during the regular season. Long Beach beat Golden West, 13-12, Oct. 28 to win the South Coast Conference regular-season title. Golden West came back with an 11-6 victory over the Vikings in the South Coast Conference tournament, Nov. 5.

Long Beach earned the top berth in the State tournament with an 11-9 victory over Golden West Saturday in the Southern California championship game.

*

Bowls and polls: Rancho Santiago (8-1) continued to hold down the top spot in the Southland football poll. Long Beach (9-1), which completed its regular season, is second.

Bakersfield (8-1) is third, El Camino (8-1) fourth, L.A. Valley (8-1) fifth, Moorpark (7-2) sixth, Cerritos (7-2) seventh, Chaffey (7-2) eighth, College of the Desert (7-2) ninth and Palomar (6-3) 10th.

Rancho Santiago has clinched the Mission Conference Central Division title and will go to a bowl game. The question is, where? The Dons will receive an invitation to the Simple Green Orange County Bowl. But if Rancho Santiago closes out the regular season with a victory over Saddleback Saturday at Santa Ana Stadium, the Dons could also draw interest from the Shrine Potato Bowl in Bakersfield.

*

Picked off: Saddleback's Scott Patton, a former football and baseball standout at Capistrano Valley High, leads the Mission Conference in interceptions with seven. Patton signed a professional baseball contract out of high school but was released after spending two seasons in the Chicago White Sox's minor-league system.

His return to football this fall has been most impressive. He has intercepted two passes in a game twice including Saturday against Orange Coast. He returned the first 29 yards for a touchdown and his second was late in the game and set the Gauchos up for a possible score. But the OCC defense held and the Pirates won, 23-19.

Notes

Chaffey, the top-ranked men's basketball team in the state, plays in the Fullerton tournament this week. The tournament starts Wednesday with East Los Angeles vs. Grossmont at 6 p.m. and Fullerton takes on Los Angeles Harbor at 8 p.m. In Thursday's games: Saddleback plays Chaffey at 6 p.m. and Long Beach, the defending State champion, goes against San Bernardino Valley at 8. The tournament continues Friday and the title game is Saturday at 8 p.m. . . . The Rancho Santiago Tip-Off tournament starts Friday. Santa Barbara plays Arizona Yavapai at 6 p.m. and Rancho Santiago plays El Camino at 8 p.m.

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