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Simi Valley Shooting for Better Effort

Boys' basketball: Pioneers, who made only 24.6% of their shots in section final, travel to Clovis West for regional opener.


Simi Valley High tries to regain its shooting touch when the Pioneers play at Clovis West in a first-round game of the Southern Regional Division I boys' basketball playoffs at 7:30 tonight.

The Pioneers (28-3) made only 14 of 57 shots (24.6%) in a 53-39 loss to Santa Ana Mater Dei in the Southern Section Division I-A championship game at the Arrowhead Pond on Saturday, but Clovis West (36-2) could be an opponent more to their liking.

The Golden Eagles are seeded No. 3 in the eight-team regional and will be playing in front of a partisan crowd, but they lack a dominant big man like Jamal Sampson of Mater Dei.

Sampson, a 6-foot-10 junior, had 17 points and 18 rebounds Saturday. Perhaps most importantly, he blocked eight shots and forced Simi Valley to alter several others.

"We like to run," said Coach Vance Walberg, in his 11th season at Clovis West. "We like to get up and down the floor. . . . We're looking for an 80- to 90-point game."

Clovis West, which defeated Fresno Hoover, 78-59, for its fourth consecutive Central Section Division I title, has won 18 consecutive games and is averaging 85 points.

Charlie Rodriguez, a 6-6 sophomore center, averages 16 points and 7.5 rebounds for the Golden Eagles. Chris Hernandez, a 6-2 junior point guard, averages 13 points and six assists. Tyrone Jackson, a 6-1 junior guard, averages 10 points and 3.5 assists.

Branduinn Fullove, averaging 24.2 points, and Brett Michel (19.8) combined for only 12 points for Simi Valley while missing 28 of 31 shots against Mater Dei.

Dustin Villepigue, a 6-9 junior, led the Pioneers with 13 points against Mater Dei and is averaging 16 points--on 67.3% shooting--and 9.6 rebounds in the postseason.

The winner will play Long Beach Poly or Carlsbad in a semifinal on Friday night.


* WHO:

Simi Valley at Clovis West

* WHAT: Southern Regional Division I Boys' Basketball Game

* WHEN: Tonight, 7:30

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