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ROUNDUP

Arenas Ends His Exile and Plays for Sylmar

July 02, 1998|TRIS WYKES and PETER YOON | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

CHATSWORTH — Gilbert Arenas, arguably the region's best high school basketball player, has halfheartedly denied rumors he will transfer to Sylmar High for his senior year.

Wednesday, those rumors appeared to move closer to truth when the 6-foot-3 guard played 26 minutes and scored 10 points for Sylmar in a 75-33 rout of Fresno Buchanan in pool play of the War on the Floor tournament at Chatsworth High.

Arenas, who set the career scoring record at Grant the last two seasons, was evasive when asked what should be read into his appearance with the Spartans. He said he has not enrolled at Sylmar.

"I haven't told [Sylmar] I'm coming," he said. "I'm just playing with them."

Last week, Arenas said he would not play for a high school team again this summer. But his appearance for Sylmar might have slammed the door on a return to Grant, which is not in the tournament.

Arenas said Grant Coach Howie Levine gave him an ultimatum, saying if Arenas played for another school this summer, he would not be welcome back on the Grant team in the fall. Levine could not be reached for comment.

"Those were just words," Arenas said. "You can't give a high school kid an ultimatum on basketball."

Arenas' father, Gilbert Sr., said he didn't know what prompted his son's change of heart about playing for a summer team.

"He changes his mind when the wind blows," the elder Arenas said. "I don't even know what Gil plans on doing tomorrow."

Arenas, who said he will play for Sylmar today in the quarterfinals, entered the game against Buchanan with 14 minutes to play in the first half.

He missed two of his first three shots and had another blocked but finished by making five of nine, missing his only three-point shot. He had several assists and four steals.

Sylmar Coach Bort Escoto was ruffled by questions concerning Arenas' future on his team.

"I'm not going to answer any questions about Gilbert Arenas right now," Escoto said. "Do you want to talk about the game? If not, I've got a tournament to run."

It's running with a little more excitement now that Arenas is involved.

Canoga Park 57, Crespi 55--Marcin Jagoda's layup on an inbounds pass from Tim McDonough pulled Crespi (1-2) to within 56-55 with 20 seconds to play. But the Celts turned the ball over on their next possession and fouled Mike Bell, who made one of two free throws to seal the Hunters' victory.

Bell scored 21 points and Mike Gomes added 16 for Canoga Park (2-1). Jagoda scored 14 points for Crespi and Pat Casella and Blake Tibbetts each scored 10.

Kennedy 64, Granada Hills 43--Anthony Cosby scored 22 points, including four three-point baskets, and the Golden Cougars (1-2) beat the Highlanders (0-3).

Clovis West 2, Compton Dominguez 0--The Dons were no-shows for the third consecutive day and forfeited to the Eagles (3-0).

Simi Valley 70, Harvard-Westlake 57--Branduinn Fullove had 25 points and Rafael Berumen added 14 for Simi Valley.

Berumen's dunk and a three-pointer by Shaun Michel were part of a 22-7 run that gave Simi Valley a 42-24 halftime lead.

Simi Valley extended the lead to 53-33 on a layup by Tony Ward with 12:49 to play.

Harvard-Westlake made a run in the final 7:07 after Berumen became the first player in the tournament to foul out.

Alex Holmes had 17 points, including five three-point baskets, for the Wolverines.

Cleveland 79, Compton Centennial 61--Kent Dennis had 25 points, including 19 in the second half, and Cleveland won its pool.

The Cavaliers led, 42-33, at halftime, and Dennis scored 11 points during a 16-8 Cleveland run to start the second half.

Kenny Mason added 17 points, Brian Smith had 15 and Demetrius Burrell had 12 for Cleveland.

Valencia 55, Burbank 50--Howard Ingram made four free throws in the final 14 seconds for Valencia.

Royce Minor scored all 12 of his points in the second half for the Vikings, who trailed, 22-14, at halftime. His driving layup with a minute to play tied the score, 50-50.

Eskias McDaniels had 20 points for the Vikings, including five during a 10-2 run that tied the score, 39-39, with 6:00 to play.

Eric Rowher scored 18 points for Burbank and Jack Holwahjian had 14.

Chatsworth 65, Montclair Prep 35--Chatsworth started with a 21-9 run against the young Mounties.

Malik Morris had 20 points for Chatsworth.

Bobby Bowlin added 12 and Richard Harrison had 10.

Jason Anderson had 18 points for Montclair Prep.

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