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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Boys' Basketball Notebook

February 07, 2001|JOHN KLIMA

Oak Park has won 14 of 17 games, but that might not be enough for the Eagles to call the season a success.

"You hate to look at the season and say it hasn't been good when you've won 14 of 17 games," Coach Rob Hall said. "But one bad week, that's all it can take."

The Eagles (15-8, 4-2) lost consecutive Tri-Valley League road games, 51-48 to Fillmore, and 62-58 to St. Bonaventure in overtime.

Oak Park, which has won five of seven Tri-Valley titles and was undefeated in league play last season, must beat St. Bonaventure (16-5, 6-0) at Oak Park on Thursday to have a chance to catch the Seraphs.

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A big reason for St. Bonaventure's success has been the emergence of 6-10 center Wade DeSmidt, who was a role player last season. He had a school-record 17 blocked shots in a game this season.

"The improvement in that kid has been amazing," Hall said. "Last year, they played him very rarely. This year, he's the man. They go inside to him all the time, which they never could do last year."

DeSmidt's contributions have put the Seraphs in position to clinch their first league title since 1988 with a victory over Oak Park on Thursday.

"The big thing with him is that he learned to be aggressive," Coach Gil Kim said. "He's the nicest kid off the court. He had to learn to have two personalities."

DeSmidt averages 11 points, 7.6 rebounds and 5.4 blocked shots.

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Fillmore can qualify for the playoffs for the first time in 10 years.

The Flashes (6-15, 2-4 in league play) must beat Carpinteria today and Bishop Diego on Thursday to advance.

"It would be a great step for the program, a great step for the community and the school," said Chris Cone, Fillmore's first-year coach.

The Flashes made a statement by upsetting Oak Park two weeks ago.

"It was a big win for the program," Cone said. "I think we caught a sleeping giant."

Fillmore has developed an inside-outside game with center Rudy Murillo and guard Luis Herrera. Murillo, 6-3 and 285 pounds, averages eight points and eight rebounds, and Herrera averages 15 points.

Murillo scored 26 points Friday in a 65-56 loss at Oak Park.

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