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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BASKETBALL REGIONALS

Heritage Christian Loses Game, Coach

Division V boys: Berokoff resigns following Patriots' 71-56 defeat at La Jolla Country Day.

March 08, 2000|PAUL McLEOD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LA JOLLA — Heritage Christian lost its opening-round game in the Division V Southern California boys' basketball regional playoffs Tuesday night, then lost its coach.

Mark Berokoff, who built a competitive small school program at the Anaheim school in just two seasons, resigned moments after host La Jolla Country Day defeated the Patriots, 71-56.

Berokoff, who had a record of 40-16, said he wanted to pursue an assistant coaching job in the college ranks. He was also the Patriots' girls' coach.

For weeks, Berokoff has hinted that he might be moving on, but said he didn't want to say anything until the season ended. And when it did, he didn't wait. Just seconds after the final buzzer, Berokoff said, "I'm through."

"We had a great run," Berokoff said. "We got into the state tournament. We got to the CIF finals. There's nothing wrong with that. Who would have thought that Heritage Christian would get to a final? It's a real good feeling overall."

Heritage Christian, which lost to L.A. Price in the Southern Section Division V-A championship game last Friday, went out as it did against Price: In a hail of three-point shots.

The Patriots attempted 33 three-pointers, seven less than they took in the 60-46 loss to Price. Guard Jason Grier, who led Heritage with 26 points, made five of nine three-pointers, but his teammates combined to make only five of 24.

"We've been like that all year," Berokoff said. "They made a big deal out of that in the section final, but we average 30 three-pointers a game. It got us here, Why change it?"

The Patriots hit a flurry of three-pointers and took an 18-8 lead at the outset of the second quarter after Todd Winter made one.

But Country Day, which connected on only two of its first 12 field-goal attempts, found the range and put together a 19-2 run. It led, 27-20, after Rashawn Allen's three-pointer and was never seriously threatened again. Country Day made eight of 22 three-point tries, six by Allen, who finished with 24 points.

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