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When the Going Gets Tough, Moorpark Will Go to Beach

Shooting guard from Chaminade High winds up with the Raiders but he probably won't be there long.


MOORPARK — His jump shot is good and his grades are better.

So, why is Justin Beach, an honors student and All-Southern Section guard last season at Chaminade High, playing basketball for Moorpark College?

"Right now, it's just the best option," Beach said. "I knew they had a good basketball program and it's close to home."

Just don't expect Beach, a sharpshooter with an even sharper mind, to stay long.

Coach Remy McCarthy of Moorpark doesn't.

"I don't think our chances of keeping him for two years are very good," McCarthy said. "He's good and he's smart and he's going to get recruited. But I told him, 'We don't want to get rid of you, either.' "

The addition of Beach is a windfall for Moorpark, which figures to contend for a Western State Conference title. The Raiders, second last year in the WSC Northern Division, lost three conference games by a combined 13 points.

Beach, who averaged 12.8 points a game, was a key ingredient in Chaminade's run to a Southern Section Division III-A championship, which included a 25-game winning streak.

Beach was recruited by a handful of schools, of which UC Davis was the largest.

An aspiring engineer, Beach opted for Moorpark while continuing to search for the right athletic and academic mix.

"I had some small offers but nothing stood out," Beach said. "Whatever school I choose, the curriculum is going to influence my decision. I know that basketball isn't going to be paying my bills 15 years from now."

Adjusting to the junior college game should be easy for Beach, who was overshadowed at Chaminade by Scott Long and Scott Borchart, the team's leading scorers.

"His versatility is really going to show at Moorpark," Coach Jeff Young of Chaminade said.

Academics shouldn't pose a problem, either. Beach scored 1350 on the SAT and maintained a 4.1 grade-point average at Chaminade, among the most demanding college preparatory schools in the nation.

Beach's GPA slipped from 4.2 during his senior year because of his decision to "take things easier."

Now it's time to go back to work.

"It's really important to me," Beach said. "I like Moorpark. We have a good shooting team and everyone appears to be on the same page. Hopefully, I'll find a place to go from here."

A look at some of the best the region has to offer:



Coach: Newton Chelette, 10th season

Last season: 22-9; first in Foothill Conference Northern Division at 7-1.

* Center Le'Tre Kelly (6-6), 6-foot guard Michael Paul and 6-5 forward Marc Buckner are sophomore returning starters. Kelly, an all-conference selection, averaged a team-high 7.4 rebounds. Paul made 50 of 149 three-point shots. Buckner is a good rebounder and inside player. Freshman LeRoy Jackson, a 6-4 guard from from Rosamond High, was selected Antelope Valley player of the year by one publication.



Coach: Lee Smelser, 30th season

Last season: 11-20; fifth in WSC Southern Division at 3-7.

* Forwards Sam Harris (6-5) and Ron Slater (6-6), and 6-1 guard Charles Madison are returning starters. Guard Dirk Baker (5-10) and 6-9 center Mike Motherspaw figure to play increased roles. The roster is filled with newcomers with speed, which Smelser will try to blend with an improved front court.



Coach: Brian Beauchemin, 20th season

Last season: 18-14; second in WSC Southern at 6-4.

* All-conference guard Tony Hoggatts averaged 18 points and four assists last season for the Vaqueros, who advanced to the Southern California Regional for the first time since 1985. Guard Donald Holt averaged 10 points a game. Guard Denny Ogden averaged 12 points as a starter before being sideline by injuries. Chris Moreland, a 6-5 sophomore forward, is the team's best inside player.



Coach: Remy McCarthy, 3rd season

Last season: 13-14; tied for second in WSC Northern at 5-3.

* Justin Beach, a 6-6 freshman forward, who averaged 12 points a game at Chaminade High, will lead a strong perimeter-shooting team. Forward Scott Schnetzler (6-4) is the Raiders' only returning player, but there are several talented freshmen. Point guard O.J. Thomas from Channel Islands High led the county in assists. Guard Alan Case (6-4) from South Lake Tahoe was a league MVP last season. Swingman Jeff Fouchay, from Oxnard High, was a second-team All-Southern Section selection.



Coach: Ron McClurkin, 6th season

Last season: 2-27; sixth in WSC Northern at 0-8.

* No players return from a forgettable season. Optimism is high with the addition of transfers Chris Carter and D.J. Christian. Carter, a 6-6 forward, played last season at North Carolina Charlotte. Christian, a 6-5 forward, transferred from St. Catherine's in Kentucky. Guards Juan Guzman of Santa Paula High and Barnaby Simon of Channel Islands are the top freshmen.



Coach: Doug Michelson, 6th season

Last season: 22-10; tied for second in WSC Southern at 6-4.

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