When Lou Cvijanovich began coaching basketball at Santa Clara High in 1959, one of the first things he did was try to change the school colors from blue and yellow to red.
The idea was quickly shot down by many school boosters with allegiances to the University of Notre Dame.
Forty-one years later, the Saints' uniforms finally include the trademark red Cvijanovich wore on his socks and tie for 41 seasons until his retirement last spring as boys' coach.
At least, the girls' uniforms do.
The blue and yellow remain, but a red shoulder band has been added to honor the man who won three state titles and a state-record 829 games at the Oxnard school.
Usually, shoulder bands are black and worn to remember the deceased.
Cvijanovich, 73, is very much alive and serving as a boys' assistant at Hueneme.
"We've got to honor the living," said girls' Coach Sherri Lou Cvijanovich, Lou's daughter. "It's so much better when they can be around to know that their hard work has been appreciated."
It's only December, but you wouldn't know it by the on-court celebration following Ventura's 60-57 upset of cross-town rival Buena on Saturday night for the championship of the Buena tournament.
The victory was the Cougars' first in several seasons against their nemesis, which entered the season ranked No. 7 in the nation.
With Division I-bound players Alex Gientke and Kristine Gleisberg, Ventura (4-0) established itself as a force throughout the four-game tournament.
The Cougars averaged 75.5 points in victories over traditional powers Alemany, Hart and Santa Clara and fell one point shy of the tournament scoring record of 303.
It's peak season for girls' basketball tournaments in the region.
Buena, Ventura, Palmdale, Harvard-Westlake, Chatsworth and Nordhoff begin play in the Tournament of Champions in Santa Barbara.
Beginning Friday, Buena (4-1) participates in the National Championship bracket, a 16-team field that features 13 of the top 20 teams in USA Today's national rankings.
Ventura is top-seeded in the California Large Schools division, which begins on Saturday and also includes Palmdale.
The California Small Schools division, also beginning Saturday, includes Harvard-Westlake, Chatsworth and Nordhoff.
Tournaments at Simi Valley, Burroughs and Santa Paula also begin this week.
Many teams choose this week to travel outside the region, scattering everywhere from San Luis Obispo to San Diego.
Some are even more ambitious that that.
Crescenta Valley will fly to Orlando, Fla., on Thursday to compete in an eight-team tournament at Disney World, and Buckley will participate in the Kona Classic in Hawaii.
"The girls are really excited," said Coach Allen Freemon of Crescenta Valley. "All I have to do is mention Orlando and you can see a definite gleam in their eyes."
A lot of area players have gotten off to great starts this season, but few with the precision of Simi Valley's Elise Metcalf.
Through four games, she made 82.9% of her shots (29 of 35) and was averaging 17.3 points.
"I didn't want to mention it to her and get in her head," Coach Dave Murphy said.
But, after the Pioneers failed to get her the ball consistently in the first half against Schurr on Thursday night, Murphy changed his mind.
"I went into the locker room and said, 'We've got a kid shooting 83% and we're not getting her the ball,' " Murphy said.
Metcalf scored 18 points in the second half to lead Simi Valley to a St. Lucy's tournament victory.
Newbury Park, ranked No. 4 in The Times' girls' regional poll, will probably have to play through December without key players Oli Keohohou and Erin Edrosolan.
Keohohou, a senior starting guard, has battled repeated illness. Edrosolan, a junior swing player, is recovering from whiplash sustained in an auto accident last month, Coach Nori Parvin said.
The Top 10
Rankings of region basketball teams
RK LW School (League) Rec. 1 1 Simi Valley (Marmonte) 5-0 2 2 Chaminade (Mission) 1-0 3 3 Oxnard (Pacific View) 7-1 4 4 Crespi (Mission) 4-2 5 5 Crescenta Valley (Pacific) 6-0 6 7 North Hollywood (Sunset Six) 4-1 7 8 Harvard-Westlake (Mission) 3-1 8 NR Cleveland (West Valley) 6-4 9 10 Thousand Oaks (Marmonte) 5-2 10 NR Campbell Hall (Academy) 4-2
RK LW School (League) Rec. 1 2 Ventura (Channel) 4-0 2 1 Buena (Channel) 4-1 3 3 Alemany (Del Rey) 4-1 4 4 Newbury Park (Marmonte) 2-2 5 5 Channel Islands (Pacific View) 8-0 6 7 Crescenta Valley (Pacific) 4-1 7 8 Royal (Marmonte) 4-1 8 6 Harvard-Westlake (Mission) 1-2 9 9 Oxnard (Pacific View) 3-2 10 10 Burroughs (Foothill) 5-2