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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | ERIC SONDHEIMER

Taking a Page From Jordan

January 04, 1998|ERIC SONDHEIMER

A smorgasbord of notes, quotes and opinions from across the San Fernando Valley and its surrounding communities:

During an eight-minute stretch earlier this week, 6-foot-6 Michael Page of San Fernando High had fans dancing in the bleachers as if he were Michael Jordan.

What ignited a spontaneous celebration of high-fives and energetic cheering was the shooting exhibition Page put on against Simi Valley in the championship game of the Hart tournament.

In the second quarter, he made seven of seven shots from three-point range and scored 26 points. There even was a four-point play.

"That kid was on fire," Simi Valley Coach Dean Bradshaw said.

Page, a senior, scored 34 points in the Tigers' 71-69 loss to top-ranked Simi Valley. His shooting display was so impressive that a young boy came out of the bleachers and had Page sign his tournament program.

"It was real fun, probably the best game of my career," Page said.

The fun part was watching the reaction of spectators as Page fired in three-point shots. It was only a high school basketball game, but Page provided enough entertainment that Jack Nicholson would have enjoyed having a front-row seat. . . .

About the only time officials get their names mentioned is when they mess up. But Bob Rappoport and Dwayne Finley deserve praise for their excellent officiating of the Simi Valley-San Fernando championship game. . . .

Four years ago, Shaun Williams enrolled at UCLA as a promising 17-year-old freshman football player from Crespi High. He was known for his speed and running skills as a tailback in high school, but he quickly became a free safety at UCLA. The rest is history.

Williams probably will be a first-round pick in the NFL draft. After his final game for the Bruins on Thursday at the Cotton Bowl, he left the field with the satisfaction he had fulfilled most of his college dreams. He established himself as an All-American safety with the likes of Bruin greats Eric Turner, Don Rogers and Kenny Easley.

"I have nothing but good memories, from Coach [Terry] Donahue to Coach [Bob] Toledo," he said. "I've taken something from each, something from football to life."

Williams, who grew up in Lake View Terrace, made the correct decision not to leave college early and enter the NFL draft after his junior season. All he has to do now is perform well for the scouts in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., and the NFL combine and he'll reach his life-long goal of playing in the NFL. He has earned it. . . .

Valencia is favored to win the Foothill League title in boys' basketball, but Burroughs (10-5) is my dark horse threat. Preston Tucker, a 6-8 senior center who played on the junior varsity the past two years, is making steady progress. Junior guard Kevin Krose is starting to score, and senior forward Jeremy Cartee remains a fiery leader. . . .

Canyon is set to pick up the best incoming freshman running back in the Santa Clarita Valley. Tim Gregory, brother of Cowboy running back Matt Gregory, intends to play for the Cowboys next fall. He has dominated in the local youth ranks. . . .

The City Section will have an excellent group of freshmen baseball players this season. Watch out for Chatsworth catcher Andrew Strickland, Kennedy pitcher-shortstop Chad Shaw, San Fernando outfielder Jesse Moreno and Granada Hills outfielder Bobby Baca. . . .

UCLA begins baseball practice on Wednesday--in the Valley. The Bruin team will take part in a three-mile run over a hilly course at Chesebro Park in Agoura. The Bruins did the same run last year and ended up making the College World Series. . . .

The Los Angeles Invitational indoor track meet on Feb. 7 at the Sports Arena could attract an elite group of high school sprinters. Justin Fargas of Notre Dame is confirmed as a competitor in the 50-yard dash. Miguel Fletcher of Alemany and Sultan McCullough of Muir also have been invited.

Among the expected girls' participants are Hoover pole vaulter Bridget Pearson, Birmingham 1,600-meter specialist Tiffany Burgess and Canyon distance runner Lauren Fleshman. . . .

After an 0-4 start, Crespi's basketball team is 6-6. Blake Tibbetts, who rushed for 1,057 yards in football, has given the Celts a lift at guard.

Crespi has one of the region's best junior varsity teams. The Celts are 10-0 behind freshmen Mike Luderer and Andrew Moore, and are 31-2 over the past two seasons as a group under Coach Tom Cassidy. . . .

After six days in Hawaii, Chaminade (10-1) is home preparing to start Mission League play on Wednesday against rival Notre Dame. "I think we're ready," Eagle forward Scott Long said.

The Eagles went 4-0 in Hawaii. Besides learning they can compete against top teams, the Eagles learned junior Josh Levy is the team's best surfer. . . .

Junior guard Cara Blumfield of El Camino Real (10-0) is averaging 25.0 points. She's a terrific two-sport athlete (she also plays softball). . . .

Pierce College's baseball team will benefit from the addition of former Calabasas shortstop Josh Harris, one of the best fielders around. . . .

Former Camarillo outfielder Joe Borchard, a freshman at Stanford, is ready to challenge for playing time on a Cardinal team rated No. 1 in preseason polls. "I'm just going to try to get into the lineup any way I can," he said.

Eric Sondheimer's local column appears Wednesday and Sunday. He can be reached at (818) 772-3422.

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