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Previews of Southeast / Long Beach Teams : OLYMPIC LEAGUE

November 30, 1986|PAUL McLEOD

Whittier Christian is the coaches' favorite to repeat as league champion. Most feel the Heralds can challenge for a Southern Section and state title. Besides those listed below, other league members are Capistrano Valley Christian, Orange Lutheran, Southern California Christian and Ontario Christian.

WHITTIER CHRISTIAN--The Heralds were undefeated in the regular season last year but lost to Crossroads High in the playoffs. That defeat stunned Coach Bill Cuccia, but he has assembled a team that may be even better. Gone is Todd Morrison, who averaged 14.1 points and 11 rebounds, but seven players, including four starters, return from a 25-1 team. "We have the most talent in our top seven players than we've had in my 11 years in Whittier," Cuccia said. Returning are the Martin brothers--6-5 forward Erik and 6-2 guard Chris--along with 6-2 Mike Goodcase, an all-league performer; 6-4 forward Chris Syke, 6-2 guard Doug Newley and three-year letterman Sam Hoogsteen, a 6-3 swingman. A top newcomer is Matt Lien, a 6-7 senior who has grown four inches since last season.

BRETHREN--For Coach Richard Thomas, a playoff berth may be a long shot. Chris Tatum, a second-team all-league choice a year ago as a 6-2 swingman, returns, but the Warriors are thin on experience. Says Thomas: "We have some potential but lack size. Our league appears to be balanced." He predicts a fourth- or fifth-place finish.

VALLEY CHRISTIAN--No starters return for the Crusaders, but Coach Harold De Bie said a playoff spot is obtainable. "Lack of height and experience are big factors, but we have good passers and shooters, we play well together and have good team intelligence," he said. De Bie concedes the league title to Whittier Christian and gives Ontario Christian a good chance for second place. The battle will be for third, he said. Ryan Rienstra, Glen Struiksma, Eric Johnson and Steve Kortenhoven have the inside track for starting jobs.

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