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Basketball Preview | BOYS' BASKETBALL

No Rain in Forecast for Tarbut This Year

November 28, 2000|BEN BOLCH

Lots of Orange County players saw their teams' playoff runs last season end in agonizing fashion.

Santa Margarita guard R.J. Socci watched helplessly as Inglewood reserve guard Ed McKinney's high-arching three-pointer from the wing with 10 seconds left buried the Eagles.

Mater Dei center Jamal Sampson could only shake his head in disbelief as Fresno Clovis West pulled out a game the Monarchs had in their grasp.

But nothing could top the anguish that Tarbut V'Torah forward Noam Dashti suffered. Dashti's season ended because of . . . rain.

The Lions were supposed to travel to West Hills to play West Valley Christian in a second-round Division V-A game. But Tarbut V'Torah officials wouldn't let the team travel because of a few heavy downpours the day of the game.

Game forfeited. Season over.

"It was a real disappointment," Tarbut Coach Patrick Roberts said. "But, hey, we're over that and we're taking the next step now."

The next step is getting back to the playoffs with a team that returns four senior starters. The team has adopted the motto "A burning desire to succeed" and has dedicated its season to the school's 18 seniors, who will comprise its first graduating class.

"We have a little experience and our kids have been to the playoffs now for two years [in a row] and they're hungry," Roberts said. "We just hope to keep them that way."

Sunny skies are predicted for these Lions.

AN IMPERFECT 10

Ten victories just isn't going to cut it any more. Now it's going to take one more to get into the Southern Section playoffs.

The section upped its standard to 11 this season to cut down on massive brackets and unqualified teams. Only 18% of the teams that got into the playoffs last season by virtue of the "10-win rule" won a game.

"We've tried to alleviate some of the overcrowding," said Paul Castillo, the section's assistant commissioner who oversees boys' basketball.

Although the 17 Orange County teams that qualified for the playoffs only because they had 10 or more victories finished 2-17, with no teams advancing past the second round, there was one glaring exception overall.

Gardena Serra, 11-15 entering its wild-card game, won the Division IV-AA title.

STATUS QUO

The switch from two to three subdivisions for the Division I playoffs will have little impact on the balance of power among county teams.

Five of the top 10 teams, including top-ranked Mater Dei and No. 3 Villa Park, remain in Division I-A. The Monarchs are favored to win their third consecutive section title and ninth in 10 years.

Fifth-ranked El Toro and No. 10 Marina will have the best shot among county teams to win the Division I-AA title, while none of the seven county teams in Division I-AAA are ranked.

TOURNAMENTS GALORE

The Taco Company tournament kicked off the season Monday when former Cal State Fullerton Coach Bob Hawking made his debut with the Anaheim Colonists in a game against Servite. The tournament, hosted by Loara and Anaheim, runs through Saturday. Villa Park and No. 6 Woodbridge are among the favorites to play in the championship game at 8:15 p.m. Saturday at Loara High.

Mater Dei and No. 2 Ocean View will compete in the Ocean View Tournament of Champions Dec. 4-9 at Ocean View High.

Officials with the Holiday Basketball Classic, which runs Dec. 12-16, hope that free parking will result in much larger crowds than the ones that came to the Anaheim Convention Center for last season's inaugural tournament. The venue charged a parking fee last season, but parking is included this year with the price of admission. Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for students.

Villa Park, El Toro, No. 8 Newport Harbor and No. 9 Brea Olinda are among the favorites to reach the title game Dec. 16 at the convention center.

Mater Dei is among a handful of county teams that will play in the Las Vegas Prep Holiday Classic Dec. 18-21. The Monarchs could face Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill Academy in a championship game matching two of the nation's top teams.

If you have an item or idea for the high school boys' basketball report, you can fax us at (714) 966-5663 or e-mail us at ben.bolch@latimes.com

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