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Gipson Has Verbum Dei Running Well


Verbum Dei guard Richard Chaney wasn't exactly thrilled earlier this season when former Eagle assistant coach Ronnie Gipson took over the program.

Chaney didn't have anything against Gipson; he just hated all the running.

"He's a very strict coach as far as conditioning," Chaney said after scoring 25 points Monday in a 71-63 victory over Downey Calvary Chapel. "At first, I didn't agree with that. But at times like this, I really thank him for that.

"If it wasn't for the conditioning, we probably would have lost because of fatigue."

Gipson's Eagles (19-3), No. 11 in The Times' rankings, are in such good shape that they followed their afternoon victory over Calvary Chapel with an evening rout of San Pedro Mary Star of the Sea. The team appears back to the form that helped it win consecutive state Division IV titles in 1998 and '99 under David Greenwood.

Greenwood left after the '99 season to work with daughter Tiffany, an All-Southern Section basketball player at La Puente Bishop Amat. He indicated a desire in September to return as Eagle coach to replace the departed Casey Curry but decided to work with Tiffany for her senior season.

Greenwood helps run drills at Verbum Dei practices but has made it clear that Gipson is in charge.

"He's doing a wonderful job," said Greenwood, an All-American at Verbum Dei and UCLA in the 1970s. "Our goal is to get the program back to where it's supposed to be. We feel that we should either be in the finals or winning the championship every year."

Gipson, a Verbum Dei alumnus who was an assistant under Greenwood during the state championship seasons, said his former mentor has prepared him well.

"I knew if I could get the boys to play the way we played two years ago, everything would be OK," Gipson said.

"The players have definitely responded positively to us because they were looking for leadership and direction and discipline. We've come in from Day 1 and told them we were going to give them discipline, because that's the only way you can win as a basketball team."

What a rivalry: Hemet and Perris met Friday for the 103rd time in a series that dates to the early 1900s.

Perris won, 64-61, to extend its series win streak to 29 games. But Hemet still leads the series, 57-46. Hemet Coach Alex Boyd has his young team poised to break the current streak in the next couple of years. In Friday's game, the Bulldogs had three sophomores and a junior in the starting lineup.

"We're just not a basketball school," said Boyd, who has been at Hemet for nine seasons. "But we're getting there slowly."

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