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High Schools | Eric Sondheimer

Bad Behavior Isn't Limited to One Sport or a Gender

February 06, 2004|Eric Sondheimer

A smorgasbord of notes, quotes and opinions from across Southern California....

January was not a good month for female athletes when it came to sportsmanship, raising the question whether a reality video is contemplated for raucous sports behavior.

A Pacific View League girls' basketball game between Oxnard Pacifica and Oxnard Rio Mesa ended with seven players ejected, seven technical fouls assessed and punches thrown.

A girls' soccer match between La Mirada and Norwalk resulted in one player pulling another down by her hair, lots of pushing, shoving and the filing of an assault charge by a parent with the sheriff's office that didn't result in a prosecution.

But before anyone starts thinking the girls are getting as nasty as the boys, take note: In the Southern Section this season, there have been 51 girls ejected from soccer games compared to 179 for boys' soccer. In basketball, 55 boys have been ejected compared to 16 girls.

Bad behavior isn't acceptable no matter the gender and no matter the sport....

Russell White, the fifth-year boys' basketball coach at Calabasas, has his 20-3 team in position to win its first league championship in school history.

He also has been on his best behavior, receiving no technical fouls this season after his embarrassing ejection from last year's Marmonte League championship game. "I let my team down in the worst possible way," White said.

Less boisterous and more understanding of officials, White has done a magnificent job molding the Coyotes into a Southern Section Division III-AA title contender behind 6-foot-8 center Steve Saunders and junior point guard Drew Housman.

Equally important is that he's showing his players that he knows how to make amends for an error in judgment.

"I catch myself a lot more when I'm talking to officials," he said. "Ultimately, I don't want to let down my players." ...

Jed Collins, a 6-3, 235-pound linebacker from Mission Viejo who signed with Washington State on Wednesday, could one day become an intramural basketball legend at the Pullman, Wash., campus.

He has an uncanny ability to draw fouls and uses his instincts to outplay and outmaneuver more athletic basketball players. His 26-point performance last weekend against Etiwanda was vintage Collins.

"He wants to compete so badly," Mission Viejo Coach Troy Roelen said.

Collins, though, gets himself into trouble because of his constant chatter on the court. He drew a technical in the final minute against Etiwanda. He talks to officials, opponents, teammates, even fans.

Roelen keeps reminding Collins that he has to be careful what he says and when he says it. As a competitor, though, Collins has few peers....

Every other week, there seems to be a new rumor over which school talented freshman quarterback Jimmy Clausen of Westlake Village Oaks Christian will be transferring to. Enough. He's not going anywhere, according to his mother, Cathy.

"Jimmy is staying at Oaks Christian, where he's having a great time," she said....

Venice football Coach Angelo Gasca was beaming with pride after eight of his players signed Wednesday with NCAA Division I-A schools. "We just had some real good players who worked hard in class becoming qualifiers," he said....

College football recruiters don't like to give out scholarships to kickers, but there are at least two elite prospects for next season in Randall Reynosa of Santa Fe Springs St. Paul and Troy Van Blarcom of Orange Lutheran.

Reynosa made 11 of 14 field goals as a junior and contributed at receiver and defensive back for the Swordsmen. Van Blarcom has one of the strongest legs in Southern California. Eighty of his 88 kickoffs ended up as touchbacks. He also made six of seven field goals and 62 of 63 conversion kicks....

Here's an idea for a basketball tournament. Call it "The Transfer Extravaganza." Only teams with three or more transfer students qualify to enter. Fans will earn a free pair of shoes if they correctly predict which players in the tournament will transfer the following season....

Speaking of shoes, Nike's national basketball manager, Tony Dorado, refuses to release the names of the schools that his company is sponsoring in Southern California with free shoes and free sweats.

"It's a relationship between us and each individual school," he said.

Among the schools that have no problem revealing that they're sponsored by Nike are Westchester, L.A. Fairfax, L.A. Crenshaw, Santa Ana Mater Dei, L.A. Verbum Dei and Santa Margarita....

Hollywood High, celebrating its 100th anniversary, will induct its first group into a new Athletic Hall of Fame during a ceremony Feb. 25 at the Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City. Topping the group of inductees is Rod Dedeaux (Class of 1931), who guided USC to 11 NCAA baseball championships.


Eric Sondheimer can be reached at

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