Marmonte League madness ensues

CALABASAS -- When it comes to boys’ basketball in the highly competitive Marmonte League, the best thing to do is expect the unexpected. It’s that simple.

Nearing the midway point of the season, no clear-cut favorite has emerged as the front-runner in the league standings. And as difficult as it may seem to some, things at the top became a bit more muddled after Monday night‘s results.

Jeremy Lieberman made the game-winning layup with less than two seconds left in the fourth quarter to not only lift Calabasas to a rather surprising 56-55 victory over visiting Thousand Oaks, but forge a three-way tie for first place.

The Lancers (15-2, 4-1) entered the showdown in control of their own destiny, in sole possession of the league’s top spot. With the setback, however, they fall into a deadlock with the Coyotes (13-5, 4-1) and Simi Valley (12-5, 4-1).

“That’s just the way things go around here, we tend to beat up on each other all of the time,’’ Calabasas coach Jon Palarz said. “It’s cliché, but anyone can win on any given night and we went out and proved it against Thousand Oaks.’’

Perhaps the victory helped out Simi Valley the most. The Pioneers, after all, lost to the Lancers, 71-55, on Friday night. Now, all of sudden, they are right back in league race heading into a pair of league games later this week.

Each team will meet the other one more time in league. And chances are, things will be ultimately decided at some during the final week of regular season play, in mid-February. In the meantime, there’s no reason to predict the unpredictable.

"I've been coaching around here for a while now, and honestly, nothing surprises me anymore," said Simi Valley's Christian Aurand, one of the league's longest tenured coach in his 12th year at the helm. "There are no easy games when any of us get together, that's just one of those facts in life. If there's one thing that I know, one thing that I have learned in my day, it's going to be a battle to the end. ''