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BETWEEN THE LINES | HIGH SCHOOLS

December 06, 1996

Semisweet: Notre Dame (11-1), which plays Muir in a Division III semifinal tonight at Pasadena City College, is making its fourth semifinal appearance since 1989, a reflection of the success the Knights have had this decade under Coach Kevin Rooney.

Notre Dame is 45-6 over the past four years, including a 20-0 record in Mission League play. The Knights won a Southern Section title in 1994 and were upset by Westlake in a quarterfinal last season.

"I think it's a good team that probably has surpassed a lot of people's expectations," said Rooney, in his 17th season as head coach.

"It's hard to say how it compares with [past teams] until we play the last couple of games."

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Tony award: The Antelope Valley High basketball team was missing its second-leading scorer, Tony Walker, in its 81-55 loss Monday to Harvard-Westlake, ranked No. 1 in the region by The Times.

Antelope Valley is ranked No. 3.

Walker was preparing for tonight's Southern Section Division II semifinal football game against Dominguez.

Should Walker have played?

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Dominguez High quarterback Jason Thomas played basketball Wednesday for the Dons, the No. 1 basketball team in the nation according to USA Today.

It was the same day a photograph of Thomas dunking a basketball graced the front page of USA Today's sports section.

Let Antelope Valley basketball Coach Tom Mahan settle the issue.

"Maybe that's part of being No. 1 in nation," Mahan said. "I don't even want to look at Tony [on the court]. I want to see Tony carry the ball."

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Road warriors: While other coaches may loathe them, Village Christian Coach Mike Plaisance has grown fond of distant road games, especially those that are upwards of three hours.

Last Saturday night, after the Crusaders traveled three hours to Big Bear Lake, they defeated top-seeded Big Bear High in the Southern Section Division XI quarterfinals, 21-20.

On Nov. 8, Village Christian drove four hours to Twentynine Palms to defeat the then fifth-ranked Wildcats, 23-19.

In September, the Crusaders went another four hours to Lake Isabella and beat then top-ranked Kern Valley, 21-20.

So what's the plan for tonight's semifinal game against Yucca Valley, which the Crusaders play at Kennedy High?

"We're going to get on a bus and drive around for a few hours before the game," Plaisance said.

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