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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | ERIC SONDHEIMER

Father Knows Best in Allowing Son to Pick School

November 15, 2000|ERIC SONDHEIMER

A smorgasbord of basketball notes, quotes and opinions from across the San Fernando Valley and surrounding communities:

Coaches don't usually turn away promising young athletes, so understand the sacrifice Coach Tim Bednar of Moorpark High made in letting his 6-foot-3 son, Daniel, transfer to Rio Mesa.

Daniel started last season on Moorpark's 24-1 junior varsity, but he was being pulled in different directions.

His best friends attend schools in Camarillo, where he lives. He felt out of place at Moorpark.

But he always dreamed of playing basketball for his father.

"I've watched every one of the Moorpark games growing up," he said.

Tim allowed Daniel to decide whether he would stay or leave Moorpark.

"I told him, 'You don't need to come to play for your father,' " Tim said.

For four weeks, Daniel went back and forth, tossing and turning at night, wondering what would be the right move.

He finally chose to join his friends at Rio Mesa last spring. He started at defensive end for the junior varsity football team this season and should start for the varsity basketball team.

"I've had a little more fun at Rio Mesa," he said.

Tim could have engaged in an all-out recruiting drive, offering a new car or promising to wine and dine Daniel's mother.

Daniel still might get a car and his mother, Patricia, will definitely go out to dinner.

But Tim smartly put parental responsibility over coaching needs. And he won't have to hear any complaints from Daniel's mother about playing time. . . .

There was a time in the Marmonte League when teams feared Simi Valley. Not anymore. The Pioneers have a 25-game league winning streak, but Thousand Oaks, Westlake, Moorpark, Newbury Park and Agoura all think they can beat the two-time defending league champions.

However, Coach Christian Aurand of Simi Valley warns that the Pioneers' demise could be premature.

"The perception might be that we're down, but I know this group of guys and they're ready to take on the challenge," he said. "They'll use it for motivation."

Dustin Villepigue, a 6-9 senior, is the league's best player. Jered Weaver, a 6-5 senior known more for his pitching skills, can be a prolific three-point shooter.

But the other Marmonte schools sense an opportunity.

Thousand Oaks is the most dangerous team based on its summer performance. The Lancers have the league's best shooters, and if they can hang tough on the boards, they won't lose many games.

"It's a lot more balanced than it's been in many years," Aurand said. "There are a lot of good teams." . . .

Senior guard Cecil Brown of Canoga Park could average close to 30 points, according to Coach Ralph Turner. "He's awesome," Turner said. Brown averaged 20.6 points as a junior. . . .

Turner is making no apologies for accepting players during the summer who aren't enrolled at Canoga Park. It's legal under City Section rules, but other coaches have criticized the practice as encouraging player transfers.

"I want them to get a feel for what they want," Turner said. "I don't have a problem with kids moving around." . . .

Coach Bort Escoto of Sylmar and Athletic Director Fluke Fluker of Chatsworth will debate the controversy surrounding transfers on the weekly cable show, "Valley Sports 2," shown at 8:30 a.m. Saturday on ESPN2 in the West Valley. . . .

When it comes to three-point shooting, sophomore Gustavo Valle and junior Matthew Awad of Cleveland can compete against anyone. Awad made nine three-pointers in a summer league game. Valle had eight three-pointers in a junior varsity game last season. . . .

Casey Markovic, who made 66 three-pointers last season for Bell-Jeff, is gearing up for defenses designed to stop him. "I'll have to run him off four screens this year to get him open," Coach Eli Essa said. . . .

For the first time since 1994, Melissa Hearlihy gets to practice in her own gym. The first-year Harvard-Westlake girls' coach lost her gym at Alemany during the Northridge earthquake.

Hearlihy has been on maternity leave since August after giving birth to a son, Kyle William. She won 11 league championships at Alemany and should have the Wolverines ready to dominate in the Mission League. . . .

The best free-throw shooter in the region might be junior guard Katy O'Brien of Ventura. Last season, she made 33 consecutive free throws to start the year and finished shooting 86%. Arch, ball rotation and bending the knees are keys to her success. Maybe she could play for the Clippers, who made only 13 of 33 free throws Monday night in losing to the Dallas Mavericks. . . .

Cal State Northridge, known for its public relation blunders, almost suffered another one on Monday when it was revealed that the school banned former coach Pete Cassidy from coaching against the Matadors.

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