Coach applauds Case for part in state tourney run |

Coach applauds Case for part in state tourney run

Even though his scoring is down, Moorpark College coaches learned how invaluable sophomore guard Alan Case was to the team during a two-week stretch late in the season.

The 6-foot-4 Case missed several key Western State Conference games, including an upset to loss at Hancock that probably cost the Raiders an undisputed conference title.

“He means the world to us,” said Moorpark fifth-year assistant coach Howard Davis. “He’s a very good defender, he gives us solid rebounding, he’s our third-leading scorer and he gives us another perimeter threat.”

Case’s ankle healed quicker than coaches expected, and consequently, the Raiders went on a late-season run that has propelled them into the quarterfinals of the California junior college men’s basketball tournament. Moorpark, with a school-record 26 wins against seven losses, meets San Joaquin Delta at 6 p.m. tonight at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif.

“Our defense is so good we definitely have a chance to beat anybody,” Case said.

The Raiders never have advanced past the state quarterfinals, but with their team chemistry and the state’s second-best defense, the elusive championship seems within reach.

“We’re definitely capable of winning it all,” Davis said. “We’ve played a hellacious schedule, and we’ve had some success against some really good teams this year. We’re very excited to be here and excited to win some games.”

Because the Raiders’ tallest starter is 6-foot-3 1/2, Delta will pose problems with 6-9 center Phillip Ricci, a recruiting target of Arizona’s Lute Olsen.

“We’re fairly small; we have a kid 6-5 who comes off the bench,” Davis said. “But we’ve been playing guys that size all year and have been successful.”

Moorpark also gives opposing defenses fits with its three-point shooting. Case is one of the Raiders’ three threats beyond the arc, making a respectable 40.2 percent of his attempts.

“It’s hard for a team to guard our team on the perimeter with three guys who can shoot,” Davis said.

With some of the state’s elite junior college talent gathering in Stockton, college coaches undoubtably will be there to scout, including Case.

“A tournament like this really helps a guy like Alan,” Davis said. “You really have to sit and watch him play to realize how good he is.

“Oh yeah, he can play some more basketball. At what level or what size school, I’m not sure, but he definitely can go on and play.”

Tonight’s survivor plays the Porterville-Riverside survivor at 8 p.m. Friday.

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