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VALLEY/VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Conference Committee Rejects Protest by Valley, Citing Discretionary Action

March 05, 1998|VINCE KOWALICK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Ventura College's 74-73 victory over Valley in a women's second-round basketball game in the Southern California Regional on Tuesday night at Ventura will stand, despite a protest by Valley.

Coach John Taylor of Valley said the clock was stopped in the final seconds with Ventura trailing by a point.

A three-member committee rejected the protest Wednesday, ruling the matter was a judgment call by game officials, who put six seconds on the clock after they discovered the mistake.

Amirah Leonard of Ventura made two free throws with three seconds left to win the game.

"We determined that it was a game conduct issue, solely under the discretion of the officials," said Steve Tobias, Ventura's dean of athletics and head of the three-member committee present at the game. "The protest is about a discretionary action by the officials. We could not find any rules violation.

"It's highly unfortunate that this happened. None of us at Ventura got much sleep last night."

Ventura (33-1), two-time defending state champion, will play host to Irvine Valley in a third-round game Friday.

An infuriated Taylor said videotape of the final seconds substantiates his claim that time expired as players scrambled for a loose ball. Taylor demanded an apology from Ventura coaches and administrators.

"If they want to go on [in the playoffs], that's their prerogative," Taylor said. "But if they go on to [the state final], there should be an asterisk."

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