LANCASTER – Former Desert High girls’ basketball sensation Juliet Masei wasn’t sure she’d play this year after suffering a torn ACL in a High Desert League game against rival Mojave earlier this year. Masei enrolled at Antelope Valley College a week before the start of the school year after several collegiate suitors, including Cal State Bakersfield, backed away from offers. She didn’t receive medical clearance until Oct. 19, a week after AVC held its first official practice and about three weeks before its first game. Masei had what she considered a breakthrough game in Sunday’s 75-49 loss to San Joaquin Delta of Stockton at the College of Sequoias tournament in Visalia, scoring a team-high 14 points against the state’s second-ranked team. AVC coach John Taylor said Masei looks to be at about 70 percent, but he was quite pleased with her production, noting that she showed the outside shooting touch and ability to drive hard to the basket that wowed him and other coaches who scouted her at Desert. “Considering we got drilled, that was one of the highlights for me,” Taylor said. “She showed that she has the potential to be a great player.” Health concerns: Longtime men’s basketball coach Newton Chelette will undergo an angioplasty Saturday, a nonsurgical procedure to repair arterial blockage. The procedure will be performed at Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster. Chelette had an angioplasty performed in June 2004, when had a stent implanted to relieve arterial blockage. He learned Tuesday he would need to undergo the procedure again after visiting a doctor with complaints of chest pain earlier in the week. Chelette said neither the cause nor the severity of the arterial blockage was immediately known, but about a third of angioplasty patients require a repeat procedure because of blockage caused by what doctors believe to be an auto-immune response to injury caused by the procedure. He expects to rejoin the team for Monday’s practice. “I don’t know if that’s what my doctors are expecting, but that’s what I’m expecting,” he said. Moral victory: Chelette strongly prefers actual victories to moral victories. Nevertheless, he considers the team’s strong showing in a 65-58 loss against Diablo Valley of Pleasant Hill, which is ranked ninth in the state, in a third-place game of the AVC tournament, to be an improvement – one day after AVC committed 33 turnovers in a 76-73 semifinal loss to Moorpark. AVC was led by all-tournament selection Deonte Huff (Lancaster High), a sophomore guard who was a nominee for the state’s Player of the Month for November. “They had every chance to give up and surrender,” Chelette said. “When you lose to No. 9 by seven after that gut-wrenching loss to Moorpark, you have to feel proud of what they did.” Gideon Rubin, (818) 713-3607 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals She scored 18 points in a 109-23 romp Nov. 11 over L.A. Harbor in an effort she considered less meaningful. “Of course, I’m upset that we lost (to San Joaquin Delta), but it felt good to play one of my best games since high school,” Masei said. Masei averaged 26.4 points and 5.6 rebounds her senior year, leading the Scorpions to a share of their first league title in school history. “It’s a tough transition from high school to college, and I thought getting injured set me back in that transition,” she said. “I was questioning whether I’d be able to make that transition, but I felt like I played well against their starters, and that gave me a lot of confidence.” Masei hasn’t fully recovered from a spectacular vertical leap that had her fingertips within inches of the rim.