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Bank on It: Tarditti Can Hit in Clutch

January 27, 1998

Please excuse the Granada Hills boys' team for being a little nervous Friday night with forward Nick Tarditti on the free-throw line with a chance to upset Cleveland last week.

Tarditti had been fouled on a layup with four seconds left that tied the score, 67-67.

"But he's probably the worst free-throw shooter," said Granada Hills Coach Lou Cicciari. "He hits maybe 30%. We take a timeout [before the free throw] and he's laughing."

How bad was Tarditti? In recent practices, Tarditti had shown an alarming tendency to shoot airballs from the line.

Against the Cavaliers, Tarditti made sure he at least hit something. He banked in the free throw, giving the Highlanders the upset, 68-67.

*

Crescenta Valley's 70-49 girls' basketball loss to Buena Saturday ended a 12-game winning streak, but Coach Damian Scribner quickly found a positive spin for his 16-2 Falcons.

"After our last loss, we won 12 in a row," he said. "If we win 12 in a row again, that would make us [Pacific] League champions and CIF champions."

Crescenta Valley has six regular season games left and would have to win five postseason games to claim its first Southern Section Division I-AA title.

*

Canoga Park may have only six victories this season, but the Hunters were able to pull into the East Valley League race with a 79-77 victory Friday over Sylmar. And they did it without two starters.

Arthur Beglarian, who scored 20 points in a victory over Reseda earlier in the week, and Rene Castaneda, who leads Canoga Park in assists, missed the game for skipping class, said Coach Ralph Turner. Both are expected back for Wednesday's game against North Hollywood.

"They've been running on the track for the last two hours," Turner said. "We'll see if they make it."

*

Coach Susie Sparks missed her first game in seven years because she literally couldn't stomach it.

Sparks, the girls' coach at Saugus, felt sick Friday afternoon after eating at a fast-food restaurant.

"I went home, thought I'd lay down for a while and get back," Sparks said. "It didn't happen that way."

Instead, Sparks experienced further anxiety trying to find assistant Ron Manalastas to take over for the game against Burroughs.

"I was a little frantic getting ahold of someone because the school switchboard closes at 4 [p.m.]," she said. "I couldn't get in touch with anybody,"

She finally found Manalastas, who coached Saugus during a 53-38 loss to the Indians.

Sparks wasn't exactly in the mood for a post-game analysis. In fact, she didn't learn the score until Saturday.

"I was kind of out of it," she said.

*

Who's in third? Well, just about everybody if you're a boys' team in the Foothill League.

After the first round of league play (each team has played every other team once) there is a four-way tie for third place.

Hart (4-1 in league) is in first. Valencia (3-2) is in second. Burroughs, Burbank, Saugus and Canyon are all 2-3.

*

Move over Russell Lakey of Harvard-Westlake: You aren't the only slick shooting sophomore guard in the Mission League.

Crespi's Pat Casella has made a splash lately, popping from the perimeter.

Casella (5 foot 10), averaged less than six points a game as a reserve in early season games, is averaging 18.5 points in the Celts' last four games.

"His confidence is soaring and he can't be stopped," Coach Dick Dornan said. "He's getting a lot like Lakey."

Against Harvard-Westlake on Saturday, Casella had a season-high 21 points.

But it was the final two points by Lakey that buried Crespi. Lakey, who is averaging 21.3 points, hit a 15-foot jumper with 14 seconds left to give the Wolverines a 70-69 win, its 40th consecutive home victory.

*

Santa Clara junior swingman Nick Jones, an All-Ventura County selection last season by The Times, played his first game of the season Friday in a defeat of Malibu.

Jones, who suffered a broken foot on the first day of practice, scored seven points in eight minutes.

*

Oak Park boys' basketball Coach Rob Hall said senior starter Jeff Smith, the Eagles' top defensive player, will be examined today to check on the progress of a shoulder he dislocated Jan. 16 against Bishop Diego.

*

The Louisville girls' team received a pregame pep talk Friday night from Trisha Stafford, a forward for the Long Beach Stingrays of the American Basketball League.

The Royals then went out and took a 14-13 first-quarter lead against longtime nemesis Alemany. Louisville trailed only 26-22 at halftime before losing 61-40.

"The girls were pretty pumped up," Coach Paula Getty-Shearer said. "I probably should have had [Stafford] give another pep talk at halftime."

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