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COC TEAMS LOOK FOR KEYS.

Byline: Scott Magoloff Daily News Staff Writer

Consistency is the sports topic of the week on the College of the Canyons campus. The lack of steady play on the men's and women's basketball teams differs only in degree.

The COC women's team (5-1) lost its first game of the Sequoias tournament last weekend, only to regroup and rattle off three consecutive victories to earn the consolation championship.

``We play up-tempo transition and we weren't pushing it like we taught them to. And our post defense was terrible,'' Canyons women's coach Greg Herrick said of COC's tournament opener. ``We tightened up in those areas but we still have a long way to go. Our development is hardly over, but I like the start (to our season) - 5-1 is as good as we've had here in a long time.''

About the only constant for the men's team of late has been the play of Ron Slater, who earned all-tournament honors at the Antelope Valley tournament last weekend.

Slater, a 6-foot-6, 205-pound sophomore forward, averaged nearly 21 points and seven rebounds during the three-game stretch that saw COC win one game and lose two, including a 97-91 setback to Mt. San Jacinto in the consolation finals.

Slater reached personal highs against the Eagles, finishing with 26 points and 10 rebounds.

``He's been pretty consistent for us,'' Canyons men's coach Lee Smelser said of Slater, a sophomore. ``I just think he's getting more confident every time he goes out on the floor.''

Unfortunately for Smelser, the rest of his players - like the Cougars (4-6) in general - have battled inconsistency throughout the year.

``We're kind of up and down. We're playing well one week, then not as good next week. That's bothering us,'' Smelser said. ``Our consistency day in and day out - that has to get better.''

Any improvements Smelser sets out to achieve will be easier now that the football season has ended. Safety Jason Asencio (6-foot-2) and defensive end Jason Youngs (6-foot-7), both sophomores, are expected to join the team this week. Asencio was a reserve guard for Smelser last year.

The women's team needs no such reinforcements according to Herrick, who said his team suffered at the Sequoia tournament because of a 14-day layoff, as well as having played only two games entering the competition.

``We were playing against teams that had nine or 10 games. That was the joke (at the tournament),'' Herrick said. ``Nobody knew how good or bad we were. How could you scout us?''

Like the men's team, the women also placed one player on the all-tournament team - point guard Tasha Allen.

Allen will look the part of a freshman point guard to an extreme on Saturday as COC hosts Barstow, a team laden with players over the age of 25. Only in its first year of existence, the Barstow program features a 38-year old player and the coach of the Barstow High girls' varsity team as a player. In addition, there are 17 children between the 10 mothers on the roster.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 9, 1998
Words:504
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