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January 15, 2002

Sports Writer

AOW: Calipatria guard leading team to surprise in IVL

With the Imperial Valley League's boys basketball season just starting, one of the early surprises has been Calipatria High School.

After years in the Desert Mountain League, Calipatria, along with a couple other Valley teams, made the jump to the bigger IVL, where it will be taking on some of the bigger local schools.

Two games into the season, the Hornets are at the head of the pack with a 2-0 league mark.

A big reason for the quick start has been 17-year-old junior Ezequiel Navarro. In league wins over Central Union High and Holtville, the 5-foot-9 guard/forward averaged 17 points.

On Jan. 8, Navarro scored a team-high 21 points as the Hornets slipped past Central 53-49. A few days later against Holtville, he only scored 13 points but still helped Calipatria rip the Vikings 73-50.


"Against Central we knew it'd be a hard game because they have a pretty good team," said Navarro. "Even though they hadn't won a game all year, coach (Robert Romero) talked about how good a team they actually were. So we were ready for them. I think more than anything we just wanted to get off to a good start in league."

Navarro and his teammates followed with the win over the Vikings on Friday.

"That Holtville game just was not that good of a game for me. Before the game I was ready for it. I was in the gym, started getting ready, but when the game started, it just wasn't my day," Navarro said. "I didn't have a really good game on offense, but when I have a game like that, I just try to at least help out on defense."

Whether it's putting up big offensive numbers or helping on defense, whatever Navarro is doing is paying off for Calipatria.

"It really does feel good to be 2-0 in league right now. We've been playing a lot better as a team and that's what's helping us," said Navarro. "I really do think that we are surprising people and I think now, teams will take us a lot more seriously. I think if we continue to work hard during practice and keep playing like we're playing right now, we have a shot at taking league."

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