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AOW: Garcia leads Hornets to two wins

January 16, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

When it comes to the Calipatria High School boys basketball team, there's no doubt Steven Garcia is the leader.

When the team needs a go-to guy, Garcia's number is often called. He can make plays offensively and can turn around a game with his defense.

The 6-foot-1, 18-year-old center has become the focal point of Calipatria's game plan.

After a six-game slump, Garcia has his team back over the .500 mark with a 10-8 record. On Wednesday in the Hornets' 52-49 win over Palo Verde, Garcia finished with 25 points, eight rebounds and seven steals. He followed that with a 25-point, eight-rebound performance in the Hornets' 46-42 win over Antelope on Friday. He also had seven blocks over the two games.

In the two wins he accounted for nearly half of Calipatria's offense, but he said that's not what he's trying to accomplish. He said he doesn't go into a game trying to score and looks to pass first.


"When I have the ball I don't look to take the first shot. I just try to create down low," said Garcia. "I always look to pass first and create situations for my teammates. When it comes to me scoring, whatever happens happens."

So far this year it's been happening on a consistent basis for Garcia. Whether it was the Hornets jumping to a 10-2 record or losing six straight, Garcia has produced game in and game out.

Garcia credits his recent upsurge in play to the team's 50-49 loss to Brawley Union High on Dec. 19 and Calipatria's 0-4 performance at the Highland tournament Dec. 29 and 30. He said those games gave him more motivation to improve and to help turn around the Hornets' season.

Another motivation is this is his last year in a Calipatria uniform.

"It really does mean more to me this year because this is my last year here," said Garcia. "So I'm using all that to try and carry this team."

Hornet coach Robert Romero knows Garcia is the key to Calipatria's offense and thinks Garcia is up to the challenge.

"He's a gamer. He's feisty, strong and he's just a tough player," said Romero. "He's not only our main offensive player, but he's a real defensive presence. Steven can take charge of game if he has to and he's been doing it all year. And I think he'll continue to."

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