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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | THE HIGH SCHOOLS

Teams From Region Drop Playoff Ball

March 02, 2000|MIKE BRESNAHAN

Was there a clearance sale on Southern Section teams in the region?

They're gone. Nowhere to be found. Disappeared faster than a two-for-one special at an outlet store.

Boys' basketball. Girls' basketball. Boys' soccer. One day they're alive in the playoffs; the next day they're finalizing the end-of-season banquet.

Start with boys' basketball.

Oxnard, the No. 2 team in the region in The Times' final regular-season poll, failed to win a playoff game. So did No. 8-ranked Ventura and No. 10-ranked Burroughs.

Harvard-Westlake and Notre Dame did not get past the quarterfinals.

Simi Valley, love 'em or hate 'em, is the only team from the region alive in the Southern Section playoffs. The Pioneers play Mater Dei in the Division I-A championship on Saturday.

Then there's the strange state of affairs in girls' basketball.

For the first time since 1980, there will not be a girls' basketball team from the region in a Southern Section championship.

Buena and Ventura suffered stunning defeats early after going a combined 45-6 during the regular season. Their combined playoff record: 2-2, with Buena failing to make it to the quarterfinals for the first time since 1977.

Newbury Park, Alemany, Harvard-Westlake and Oak Park bowed out in the semifinals. (Alemany and Harvard-Westlake will participate in the state Division III playoffs, which begin next week.)

In boys' soccer, Ventura, ranked No. 2 by The Times, and Buena, ranked No. 4, won a combined three playoff games.

Buena's 2-0 loss to Mater Dei in the second round was somewhat memorable--it was the closest margin of victory for Mater Dei, which has outscored teams, 16-4, en route to an appearance in the Division II championship.

Oh, for the success of last season, when four teams from the region made it to a championship in the same three sports.

Chaminade, Santa Clara and Antelope Valley Christian advanced to a title game for boys' basketball. Harvard-Westlake advanced to a championship in girls' basketball. Boys' soccer was, once again, empty-handed.

In boys' basketball, the talent pool was unusually thin this season. Branduinn Fullove and Josiah Johnson are the only players in the region to have committed to Division I schools, Fullove to UC Santa Barbara and Johnson to UCLA.

In girls' basketball, it all came down to one bad day. On Feb. 23, five of the 10 teams in the region ranked by The Times were eliminated: Ventura (No. 1), Buena (No. 2), Oxnard (No. 6), Antelope Valley (No. 7), and Grant (No. 8).

In boys' soccer, progress was made . . . somewhat.

Four boys' soccer teams from the region--Thousand Oaks, Calabasas, St. Francis and Flintridge Prep--all lost in the semifinals of their respective divisions.

But the region hasn't been completely shut out.

In girls' soccer, Buena (31-0) has been nothing short of magnificent and plays Mira Costa in the Division II championship Saturday. Chaminade (22-4-4), always a top program, plays Bishop Montgomery in the Division IV championship Saturday.

In girls' water polo, Harvard-Westlake lost to Bell Gardens in the Division III championship. Agoura made a gamely run until losing to Santa Barbara in the Division II championship.

The bottom line: There is a dearth of Southern Section champions this season, but at least baseball and softball playoffs are only a few months away.

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