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SOUTHERN SECTION BOYS' BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS

Division I-a

February 13, 1996|PAUL McLEOD

Defending champion: Mater Dei.

Top teams: Mater Dei (27-1), La Puente Nogales (19-7), Glendora (21-5), Moreno Valley Canyon Springs (19-8).

Dark horses: Ventura Buena (15-9). The Bulldogs, led by 6-5 center Ceneka Shaw (16 points, 11.7 rebounds), were in first place in the Channel League going into the final week of the season. Capistrano Valley (15-12), which lost twice to Mater Dei in South Coast League play, might also fare well if the Cougars get more consistent offensively.

Top players: Kevin Augustine (Mater Dei), Sheldon Jackson (Corona Centennial), Donovan McCrary (Nogales), Austin Moherman (Capistrano Valley), Ceneka Shaw (Buena), Aaron Voorhees (Canyon Springs), Mike Vukovich (Mater Dei).

Notes: No fooling anyone here, Mater Dei, which defeated Nogales, 81-34, last season, has been top ranked all season and is the favorite to win its fifth consecutive title. "We've made it our goal all season long to win a [Southern Section] title and the kids know that," Monarch Coach Gary McKnight said. Mater Dei has battled injury and illness all season and only last week got the entire starting five back. "We peaked in December and I'm hoping for a second peak in the playoffs," McKnight said. Santa Ana, which drew the opener against Mater Dei, could be in for a rough night. The Saints opened the Golden West League with three consecutive victories, then fell to Tustin, 80-60. "We haven't been the same team since that game," Coach Ken Walker said. Santa Ana has lost five of its last six games. Guard Danny Rivero (16.7 points) and forward Raoul Martinez (14.5 points) lead the team. . . . The best county matchup in the first round pits El Toro at Century. El Toro was hard to figure all season, battling some of the best teams in the Sea View League down to the wire, but having only a 3-7 league record to show for it. Century (16-9) is well-coached and can run if it has to, but probably will try to control the tempo with a deliberate style. . . . Westminster (11-14) finished strong with two Golden West League victories in the final week. The Lions have a good draw in the opening round, hosting Saugus (11-13), an at-large pick from the Foothill League. But after that, Westminster might be in over its head in this division. . . . Others to watch include Corona (19-7), West Covina (16-8), Canyon Country Canyon (17-8), Riverside Poly (17-8), La Crescenta Crescenta Valley (18-7) and Newhall Hart (19-7).

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