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Agoura Measures Up and Downs Taller Simi Valley, 60-56


SIMI VALLEY — Agoura High completed a season sweep of Simi Valley with a 60-56 victory in a Marmonte League boys' basketball game on Wednesday night.

Once again, Agoura employed a second and, sometimes, third defender to frustrate 6-foot-9 center Pero Vasiljevic and offset a collective size disadvantage.

The strategy worked and the victory moved the Chargers (13-7, 7-4 in league play) to within one-half game of league-leading Royal, whose game with Thousand Oaks on Wednesday night was postponed by a power outage.

Simi Valley (14-7, 6-5) dropped to third place.

"It is very frustrating," said Vasiljevic, an exchange student from Adelaide, Australia. "Two players on one guy is not a good matchup."

Precisely the plan of Agoura Coach Kevin Pasky, whose team defeated the Pioneers, 76-61, on Jan. 5 by using similar tactics against Vasiljevic.

Vasiljevic managed to collect 23 points and 19 rebounds. But the Chargers held him scoreless in the second quarter and without a field goal throughout the third quarter. They kept Vasiljevic from scoring points in bunches.

"He is one of the best players in the league," Pasky said. "We tried to get him to shoot over outstretched arms."

Agoura, which fought back from a 12-2 first-quarter deficit, moved ahead, 20-19, in the second quarter on a basket by Joel Weiss, who scored 16 points for the Chargers.

From there, the lead changed hands 10 times, the final time on John Barry's layup that gave Agoura a 52-50 lead with four minutes to play.

Along the way, Josh Portnoy scored 14 points and Brian Laibow added 11. Weiss and Laibow each had eight rebounds.

"I think we had a tough time defending them," Simi Valley Coach Dean Bradshaw said.

Especially Weiss, who sneaked inside for three fourth-quarter baskets, each giving Agoura the lead.

"It was a game we had to win or it would have been a tough situation for us," Weiss said. "Two games out of first with three to play. Luckily, it worked out."

Vasiljevic erupted for 10 points in the fourth quarter, including a dunk to ignite the crowd.

The Pioneers trailed, 59-56, and had the ball with eight seconds left, but Tony Campanario's three-point shot bounced off the rim.

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