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BOYS: BASKETBALL BEAT CHECK THIS OUT, SHAQ.

Byline: Vincent Bonsignore, Rich Hammond Staff Writers

Hoover's Chris Rivera sank all 10 of his free throws Tuesday - the final two with 11 seconds remaining - to clinch a 59-56 victory over crosstown rival Glendale.

Hoover (9-10, 2-3) is hanging around in the Pacific League thanks to Rivera, Haik Stepanyan (12.5 ppg) and Armen Daghdassarian (12.2 ppg).

WHAT'S A TEAM GOTTA DO?

Enough is enough, claims Agoura coach Joe Riccio.

``We're the Rodney Dangerfield of high school basketball,'' Riccio said of the Chargers, whose surprise season had them in first place heading into Wednesday night's game against Thousand Oaks but leaves fans wondering if they're for real.

``I don't understand how that can be; just look at what we've done,'' Riccio said.

We took him up on the offer and came to this conclusion: Riccio has a point. Agoura has two wins over Simi Valley and wins over Thousand Oaks and Newbury Park, all of whom were more highly regarded than the Chargers coming into the season.

Despite that, some people aren't sold on the Chargers.

``The first time we beat Simi Valley - the first time anyone from the area beat them in (two years) - people said it was a fluke. Then we beat them again and still we don't get the respect we deserve,'' Riccio said. ``I can't understand it.''

AND THEN THERE IS CECIL

While some coaches are wary of having one main scorer, Canoga Park coach Ralph Turner obviously doesn't share those concerns. And you wouldn't either with the dynamic Cecil Brown around.

The 6-foot-4 Brown keeps rolling along, averaging a region-high 32.7 points per game, including games of 53 and 51 points.

Canoga Park isn't suffering one bit, either. The Hunters (10-9, 3-1) were tied for first in the Sunset 6 League heading into Wednesday's game against Poly, and they're playing their best basketball of the season.

Brown is the reason why, although not the only one.

``Obviously he's playing at a high level, but the guys around him are also playing more consistent,'' Turner said. ``And Cecil's the kind of kid, he doesn't care whether he scores 50 or 15, as long as we win. But the fact that some other guys are stepping up really makes his life a lot easier.''

Turner points to the contributions of Walter Burch, Sterling Stegall and Jason Manary as keys to the Hunters' recent play.

ALL IN THE FAMILY

It's always tricky when a coach has a son on the team. But the solid play and attitude of La Canada sophomore guard Billy Hoffman has deflected attention away from the fact his father Tom is the Spartans' coach.

``It's been a lot of fun,'' Tom Hoffman said. ``He's a hard worker, he works as hard as any kid I have, and that makes the situation a lot easier.''

It's been a fun year all around for La Canada (16-4), which upset Crescenta Valley last week and has developed into one of the region's top teams.

In fact, Hoffman considers this year's club one of the best he's had at the school in 17 years. The key is getting contributions throughout the lineup - Jordan Ballard and Robbie Neyland are averaging a team-high 12 points per game, which indicates the balance the Spartans get - and defense.

``I think we play as good on the defensive end as any team I've had,'' Hoffman said.

Unfortunately, this might not be the best year to have your best team in Division III-AA. If La Canada is to be a factor in the playoffs, it first has to get past such powerhouse teams as Bishop Montgomery - the defending state champion - Compton Centennial, Burroughs Ridgecrest and Notre Dame.

``If you put this (La Canada) team in this division in any of the last 10 years, it's probably one of the best teams in the division,'' Hoffman said. ``But this year Division III-AA is just a very, very solid division from top to bottom.

STILL WAITING

Montclair Prep hasn't heard from the Southern Section about the hardship petition it filed on behalf of Tony McFadden, who is seeking another semester of eligibility so he can join the Mounties' basketball team. McFadden, who was held back in the ninth grade, has exhausted his section-mandated eight semesters of eligibility.

But there's a catch. Since coming to Montclair Prep from the East in the middle of his sophomore year, McFadden has played in only four games, sitting out the rest because of grade problems.

Montclair Prep athletic director Greg Reece hopes the Southern Section will take into account the infrequency in which McFadden participated and grant him one more semester.

``We wouldn't have filed this had he played those other years,'' Reece said.

Reece filed the petition two weeks into the season.

< NOT AS GOOD AS FIRST TIME

The only problem with Saugus beating Foothill League rival Canyon 85-42 earlier this year is that the Centurions (14-6, 5-0) have to play the Cowboys (13-8, 4-1) again.

As in this Friday at Canyon, with first place at stake.

Saugus, 5-0 in league for the first time, is aware that Canyon is seething over getting routed.

``I guess sometimes a win like that can come back to haunt you,'' Centurions coach Jeff Hallman said. ``But there is no way we are taking this game lightly. In many ways we played the game of our lives that night. Everything went our way, it was one of those nights. We don't expect that to be the case at their gym.''

Saugus guard Chad Krogh is averaging a team-high 12 points, but one of the Centurions' lesser-known players is making a big impact. On a defensive-minded club, 5-foot-9 guard Elliott Behar consistently shuts down the opposing team's top scorer.

DAILY NEWS TOP TEN BOYS

Records through Tuesday's games

1. Thousand Oaks 15-4

2. Agoura 17-3

3. Taft 15-4

4. Notre Dame 16-4

5. La Canada 16-4

6. Crescenta Valley 18-5

7. North Hollywood 13-5

8. Crespi 13-5

9. Quartz Hill 13-4

10. Simi Valley 15-6

BOYS: SEVEN-DAY FORECAST

--Game of the week: Canoga Park at Grant, Friday, 7 p.m. The Hunters 10-9, 3-1), Lancers 13-6, 3-1) and North Hollywood 13-5, 3-1) are in a tie atop the Sunset 6, one of the crazier leagues in the region this year. OK, so one of the many zany races - don't forget the Mission and Marmonte. Grant was supposed to be here, but no one paid much attention to Canoga Park. Of course, now that scorer deluxe Cecil Brown is lighting up San Fernando Valley gyms with an average of 32.7 ppg, people are taking notice. Grant's job is to stop Brown or at least slow him down and force other players to pick up the slack. The Hunters are getting consistent production from some players not named Brown lately, but it'll be interesting to see how they stand up in a game with such high stakes. Grant isn't nearly as one-dimensional, but when it gets down to it, the ball usually finds its way into the hands of Mike Charleston (20.2) or DeWayne Anderson 14.4.)

--Bound to happen: Crespi and Notre Dame go into overtime next Friday to settle their critical Mission League matchup at Crespi. Then it goes into a second overtime. The back-and-forth affair finally gets decided by Kingsley Anyanwu's put-back layup as time expires, giving the Celts a must-need win on their home court.

--Potential upset: Thousand Oaks is playing as well as anyone in the Marmonte League, but remember, it's the Marmonte League so nothing is out of the question. That's why Moorpark has a shot of jumping back into the race by beating the Lancers next Friday at Moorpark.

--Potential hero: Reseda's Sergei Lepiashinski, the Regents' hot-shooting guard, goes off for 33 points and gets a key block down the stretch as Reseda beats Monroe 76-73 next Friday.

--Fearless prediction: Buckley's David Gale, who leads the region in steals at six per game, pickpockets Windward 11 times next Friday, the final steal leading to Gayle's no-look bounce pass to Colin Ward-Henniger for a game-winning layup.

CAPTION(S):

photo, 2 boxes

Photo: The Hoover High bench reacts to a last-minute rally against Glendale.

John McCoy/Staff Photographer

Box: (1) DAILY NEWS TOP TEN BOYS (see text)

(2) BOYS: SEVEN-DAY FORECAST (see text)
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Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 25, 2001
Words:1386
Previous Article:GIRLS: BASKETBALL BEAT FOOTHILL LEAGUE.
Next Article:BOYS' BASKETBALL: THOUSAND OAKS HANDLES AGOURA WITH EASE CHARGERS `NOT READY TO PLAY'; LANCERS ASCEND TO MARMONTE LEAD T.O. 80, AGOURA 47.


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