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PREP EXTRA: A weekly look at the high school sports
scene in the Southland | SOUTHERN SECTION REPORT

West Covina Players Working Up a Storm

January 29, 1998|GARY KLEIN

Ed Aronin, girls' basketball coach at West Covina, was looking for a way to inspire his players to give a concentrated all-out effort in every game.

He believes he has found it with a novel substitution pattern that made its debut two games ago.

"We chart every play during the game, and it's entirely based on hustle and mental mistakes," said Aronin, whose team began the week 9-7 overall after losing--but in inspired efforts--against Sierra League powers Diamond Bar and Chino Hills Ayala. "If a girl gets beat on the baseline or does something fundamentally wrong like that, she is out and goes to the end of the bench. She works her way up the bench and back into the game as other players make mistakes. It takes about a quarter to get back in."

The starting lineup is determined by tallying mistakes from the previous game. Those with the fewest take the court for the opening tip. If there is a tie, the players have a shoot-off during practice.

"The enthusiasm has improved about 30% and the attitude has really changed for the better," Aronin said. "This wasn't designed to punish, it was done to keep everyone on their toes."

Senior Leigh McNeill, a starter who has been playing on the varsity for three years, said players have embraced the system.

"Everybody gets a chance to play and score so I thought it was good idea even if you have to risk losing playing time," she said. "Sometimes, you need an extra push to stay focused, and this has given us that.

"I don't know that it would work for every team. But we're responding to it."

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Tayshaun Prince of Compton Dominguez High has been selected to the USA Basketball Men's Junior Select National team that will play an international team consisting of the top 20-and-under players in the world on March 29 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

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The third annual college preparation seminar for high school athletes and parents will be held Feb. 7 at Diamond Bar High.

The seminar, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., is free and will feature question-and-answer sessions with college coaches, administrators, admission directors and career planners. Information: (909) 396-5035.

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