One thing, however, is certain at this point: the Scorpions are the team to beat.
Camarillo, now 6-0 in Pacific View action, made that clear after a commanding 73-45 road victory against rival Rio Mesa last weekend.
“We haven’t accomplished anything,” junior guard Jacob Alonzo said after beating the Spartans. “This was a statement game. We proved we’re the team to beat in the league, but we’re far from reaching our goals.”
Rio Mesa, 4-0 in league action before its showdown against Camarillo, regrouped to defeat Pacifica at home on Wednesday.
In front of a packed house and a booming student section, Rio Mesa surged ahead 7-0 against Camarillo.
Camarillo took over in the second quarter with a 17-0 run and never looked back.
“They played physical and punched us in the mouth,” Spartan head coach Chris Ruffinelli said. “We need to have a better team effort and trust each other more.”
Senior guards Reggie Dixon, Martel Tyler and Anthony Teart lead the way for the Spartans on offense.
The trio, however, struggled against Camarillo (18-5 overall).
Dixon and Teart got into early foul trouble and never established a rhythm offensively.
Tyler had a tough time driving by Camarillo’s pesky defenders.
Ruffinelli said he needs consistency from his team.
“We don’t have depth,” the Spartan coach said. “Camarillo took away our top players, and the rest of the team didn’t respond. We can’t keep relying on (Dixon, Teart and Tyler). At some point, we’re going to need other players to have big games.”
When the Spartans click, Rio Mesa (12-10 overall, 5-1 in league) morphs into a dangerous team.
Teart and Tyler form one of the top backcourts in the league. Teart was an All-Pacific View first-team selection last season. Tyler is averaging 15 points per game.
Dixon, a 6-foot-4 guard/forward, possesses a sweet stroke and can penetrate from the perimeter into the key. He leads the team with 16 points per game.
The Rio Mesa student section chanted “Reggie! Reggie! Reggie!” after every Dixon bucket.
Camarillo, however, dominated this meeting. The squad extended its advantage to 30 points early in the fourth quarter, but the Spartan faithful remained standing.
“It gets pretty loud here,” Scorpion senior guard Corbin Covey said about the Spartan crowd. “I love playing here because I know the fans will be into the game no matter what.
“Some of the guys on the team didn’t know what to expect. I told them, ‘It’s going to be a crazy crowd. Just stay focused on the game.’”
After the shaky start, the Scorpions utilized full-court press defense to get back into the game. ACHS suffocated Rio Mesa’s guards, who strained getting the ball past halfcourt.
Camarillo wasn’t planning on pressing.
“We haven’t pressed since the first few games of the season,” Scorpion head coach Allan Sadowsky said.
“Our offense was prepared for the press because Rio Mesa likes to do that on defense. I never thought we would be the ones using the press defense.”
The Scorpions are gunning for their first Pacific View title since the 2006-07 season.
“The plan is to win a league ( championship, but going undefeated would make it a lot better,” said Covey, a star wide receiver in football.
“We’re not going to get ahead of ourselves. When you get too confident and too cocky, usually bad things happen.”
Camarillo plays host to Rio Mesa on Wed., Feb. 6 in the final game of the regular season.
A league title could be on the line when the rivals meet again.
“Our effort is definitely going to be a lot better when we play
Camarillo) again,” Ruffinelli said.
“They play physical and we need to play just as hard. We’ll make adjustments and hope for a different outcome.”