It's now official.
Ventura's victory over San Marcos last night means Ventura and Buena will share the Channel League girls' basketball title with 7-1 league records.
Buena had already clinched a share with its victory over Ventura on Monday night
The rivals met four times this season and split the series 2-2. Buena beat Ventura on its home floor for its two wins while Ventura beat Buena at Buena and at Santa Barbara High in the Tournament of Champions.
To show just how tightly matched The Star's top two teams are, the cumulative score of their games added up to a 171-171 tie.
During their Monday night game at least nine college scouts were in attendance, including USC, Pepperdine, Northern Colorado, Cal State Stanislaus, Cal State Monterey Bay and of course Ventura College.
It was funny to see the scouts lingering outside the locker room making sure the players saw their institution names on their jackets/sweatshirts/polos. They can't talk to the players, but they did talk to the coaches.
The scouts were highest on Buena sophomore point guard Keani Albanez, who put on a show in the second half. Ventura junior Maddie Fahan is also on the radar
Buena senior Holly Holcomb hasn't received as much attention as Buena head coach Dave Guenther expected. But he said that has started to change in the last few weeks with more phone calls being made to his office and cell phone.
Just goes to show when you are one of the only games on the schedule in So Cal and have good players to watch, scouts will come.
The Cal State Stanislaus coach drove five hours down, watched the game and drove five hours back to Turlock.
- Thousand Oaks scored a big win and ended Newbury Park's hopes of an undefeated Marmonte League record with an overtime victory over the Panthers at Newbury Park High on Tuesday night. The Lancers are getting stronger as the season goes on, led by sophomore Karina Alofaituli and junior Jenna Bandy.
Observations from Week One in Ventura County Girls' Basketball -
- Fillmore has returned its entire starting five this season, but has a
new coach. Ernie Quiroz stepped down and is now coaching the Laguna Blanca
High girls' basketball team, which is closer to his home in the Santa Barbara
area. Quiroz is still teaching at Fillmore High though. In his place, Harry Burns has
returned to the sideline for the Flashes to coach the girls. He
presided over Fillmore winning its own tournament title again this past
weekend. "He is really old-school, but it is good because he knows a
lot of stuff and has a lot of basketball knowledge," Fillmore senior
Aimee Orozco said. "I think it's a good thing because I think we needed
a fresh start and we are doing really well. We all love him."
- The starter exodus at Oxnard in the wake of the coaching change last season has benefited other programs, and it was evident at Ventura Optimist Cougar Invitational. Pacifica sophomore center Keiana Vines scored 13 points in a victory over her former team. The 6-foot-4 lefty transferred to Pacifica from Oxnard this season. Buena sophomore guard Keani Albanez also fled Oxnard and has been a huge boost to the Bulldogs lineup (Fast fact: Albanez is playing with her half-sister - Buena guard Elise Munoz. Rio Mesa's Imani Dixon, another Oxnard transfer, helped the Spartans reach the championship game of the tournament.
There were no hard feelings from Vines. She was chatting with the Oxnard players in the stands after beating them in the fifth-place game.
"I think I was a little bit nervous playing against them because I missed a few easy layups," Vines said. "But I knew I couldn't go soft and I still had to play hard even though I am friends with everyone on the team."
- Rio Mesa showed it will be a contender this season. The Spartans are a scrappy and hard-working bunch and nearly pulled out the Optimist title. They led Mira Costa in the first half of the championship game, and rallied to get within a point when Stephanie Ramirez hit a 3-pointer with three seconds remaining. But Mira Costa made one of two free throws as the clock expired after the final miss. Ramirez and Julisa DeVad are Rio's longe-range shooters and freshman center Riley Abraham was an all-tournament selection inside. Leah Crier is working her way back from a torn ACL injury.
- It's the little sister revival at Royal this season. Ali Mosier is the sister of former guard Jen Mosier, Aubree Mittel is the little sister of former prolific guard Kinsley Mittel and Gabbi King is the sister of former forward Kris King.