The men's basketball teams started strong over the weekend at the We Play Hard tournament in Ventura.
No. 4-ranked Ventura College is 3-0 for the first time since 2003-04 after winning the tournament for the first time by topping Orange Coast, No. 3 Saddleback and No. 10 Antelope Valley.
And the Pirates did so without a key player. Forward Najee Salaam missed the weekend with a foot injury. Several newcomers picked up the slack, including 6-foot-3 guard Ivan Dooley, who averaged 19.3 points; 6-4 wing Jaylin Airington, who averaged 16.3 points and 7.3 rebounds; and 6-6 forward Anthony Mormon, who averaged 15.0 points and 7.7 rebounds.
Moorpark (2-1) showed promise by beating Los Angeles Valley and Pasadena City to win the consolation title.
Sophomore forward Sahdi Odu may be the Raiders' lone returner, but the Raiders have some outside shooting with guards Spencer Levy and D.J. Saul, a scorer in former Oxnard High star Matt Ramon and size with 6-8 Jordan Garrett and 6-6 Zach Davis.
Ventura opens the Irvine Valley tournament today at 4 p.m. against 2-0 Canyons. Moorpark hosts East Los Angeles (1-1) Saturday at 5 p.m.