Good, not great.
That's the consensus on this season's group of girls' basketball players. Whereas last season's crop was one of the best Orange County had ever had, with players such as Edison's Kristi Smith, Brea-Olinda's Carrie Egan and Mater Dei's Geri Gainey, this season has a lot of solid, but not dominating, players.
With one exception. Elaine Youngs.
"She is, in my opinion, one of the best players I've seen in the eight years I've been coaching," Marina Coach Mike Thornton said. "Everyone else is a notch below her."
Brea-Olinda Coach Mark Trakh said, "I don't think anybody can match up with Elaine Youngs this year."
Here's a look at the county's best girls' basketball players:
Elaine Youngs (6-0, center), El Toro--"May be the top pure athlete in the West," is what Len Locher, director of Western Girls Athletic scouting service, thinks of Youngs. Youngs started playing basketball her sophomore season at guard, and last season, adjusting to her new role at center, she averaged 20.2 points and about 10 rebounds per game. "She's difficult to contain," El Toro Coach Greg Yeck said. "And she can really sky. She plays like she's 6-3 or 6-4." Youngs, a senior who was last season's South Coast League co-player of the year, has good quickness and shooting ability, including the three-point shot.
Dawne Borum (5-11, forward), Magnolia--Borum averaged 18.5 points a game last season, when she was an all-Orange League first-team selection. Coach Shelley Noble says Borum has amazing physical strength, which makes up for a lack of height. She likes to shoot from the outside.
Dawn Charroin (6-1, center), Marina--Charroin, who was named to the Sunset's all-league first team as a sophomore and a junior, averaged 16.2 points and 11.5 rebounds a game last season. She also has set five school records, including single-game scoring, rebounding and free throw shooting. A good inside offensive threat.
Tami Chick (5-10, forward), Huntington Beach--Has caught the eye of other county coaches, who consider her one of the area's stars. Last season, she averaged 13.5 points a game to help Huntington Beach reach the second round of the Southern Section 4-A playoffs. Chick was named to the all-Sunset League first team.
Karin Davidson (6-1, center), Esperanza--A two-year all-Empire League selection, Davidson averaged 12 points a game and 9.3 rebounds last season. She holds a school record in rebounding and has good speed for her size. Coach Marc Hill calls her a Michael Cooper-type player. "She plays excellent defense," Hill said. "She's a finesse player."
Joni Easterly (5-10, forward), Katella--Locher's scouting report on Easterly calls her the county's best junior. Last season, she averaged 14.8 points. Coach Barbara Bausch thinks Easterly could play all three positions but likes her strength at forward. Excellent fundamentals.
Donna Gondringer (6-2, center), La Quinta--Gondringer was named the Garden Grove League player of the year and earned all-Southern Section honors as a sophomore during the 1985-86 season, but sat out most of last season with a dislocated kneecap. Before the injury, she was averaging 19.2 points a game and 9 rebounds. She's an excellent shooter who can hit both the turnaround jumper and the three-pointer. Coach Kevin Kiernan expects Gondringer to make a big comeback.
Robin Seabrook (6-1, forward), La Habra--Named to the all-Southern Section 2-A first team, Seabrook was the division's second-leading scorer, averaging 21.3 points. She also averaged more than 10 rebounds. A great all-around athlete, Seabrook, a senior, may be facing surgery for scar tissue before the league season starts.
Tricia Stringam (5-10, guard), Mission Viejo--The county's best guard, Stringam averaged 13.7 points a game and earned all-Southern Section 3-A first-team honors last season as a junior. Stringam is a good ballhandler and has an excellent outside shot. Also a clutch player, she scored 19 points in the Diablos' Southern Section 3-A championship victory.
Susan Tousey (6-3, center), Brea-Olinda--Big and strong with a powerful inside move and an excellent hook shot. Last season, she averaged 16.3 points and 6.1 rebounds a game and was named to the all-Southern Section 3-A second team. Tousey, a senior, has improved steadily throughout high school and has signed a letter of intent with Pepperdine.
Andrea Young (5-11, forward), El Toro--They may share a similar name, but Young, a senior, has been in the shadow of Youngs. Locher says she is underrated, and Yeck considers her one of El Toro's primary offensive threats. An all-league first-team player last season, Young averaged 14 points a game. She recently suffered a stress fracture in a foot and is wearing a cast. Yeck expects her to return by the start of league play.