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Moorpark Isn't Half Bad, 55-49


New basketballs.

A larger arena causing depth-perception problems.

Poor shooting and ball-handling.


Those factors came into play for the Moorpark College men's team, which rallied for a 55-49 victory over Foothill in the quarterfinals of the state championships Thursday at University of the Pacific's Spanos Center in Stockton.

Moorpark Coach Remy McCarthy wasn't looking to excuse his team's 42.0% shooting, including 34.8% in the first half, but there had to be reasons for the sloppy play.

"It was the same for both teams," McCarthy said. "Both teams were mishandling it."

Moorpark (26-5) committed 15 turnovers and Foothill (25-10) had 18, and players struggled to get a good grip on the ball.

Still, the Raiders controlled it a bit better than Foothill and advanced to a semifinal at 6 p.m. today against San Jose City, which defeated Glendale, 58-53.

Moorpark lost to Glendale and San Jose City this season.

"We shot better in the second half, so it showed we were getting better with the rock," forward Brian Smith said.

Smith, a sophomore from Cleveland High, finished with seven points, but watched two more slip right through his hands on a breakaway.

"I was going to dunk it," Smith said.

The Raiders, in their second consecutive Final Eight appearance, tried much longer shots in the first half with abysmal results. They made one of 12 (8.3%) three-point shots in the first 20 minutes and went to halftime trailing, 25-22.

Moorpark switched from a patient, half-court scheme in the first half to a run-and-gun attack in the second half, taking advantage of Foothill's atrocious 17 of 64 (26.6%) shooting.

Moorpark guard Devin Montgomery struggled, scoring 15 points on six-of-17 shooting.

Montgomery missed his eight shots from three-point range. He scored 40 points on Saturday against Valley and came in averaging 21.3 points.

The Raiders opened the second half with a 10-4 run for a 32-29 lead and never trailed again.

But, once again, they lost 6-foot-7 forward Lester Strong to fouls, officially with 1:55 to play, but essentially for nearly the entire first half.

Strong, who repeatedly gets into foul trouble, picked up three fouls within the first 2 1/2 minutes and sat out the rest of the half.

"They are stupid fouls," Strong said. "Reaching and stuff like that."

Strong finished with 10 points and Trevor Lorz and T.K. Reed each had eight. Smith had 12 rebounds.

The Owls, who have five foreign players, including four from France, were led by Randall Powell with 14 points.

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