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SMALL SCHOOLS / PREVIEW 1990-91 : It's Anybody's Title in the Olympic League

Small Schools / Preview 1990-91


Confusion reigns in Olympic League boys' basketball. Ask any coach for a favorite to win the league, and you'll get one of four answers: Brethren Christian, Whittier Christian, Orange Lutheran or Valley Christian.

Brethren has size and depth. Valley Christian has several key players back from last season's league champion. Whittier Christian features one of the Olympic's best players in Ruben Oronoz and Orange Lutheran has two starters back.

"The league title will be up for grabs this season," Orange Lutheran Coach Matt Hansen said. "At least four or five teams could challenge for the top spot."

St. Margaret's shouldn't have much trouble repeating as the Academy League champion. The Tartans return center Ryan Westendorf, who led Orange County in rebounding last season with a 19.6 average.

After playing a free-lance schedule last season, Calvary Chapel joins the Arrowhead League, in which Southern California Christian is the defending champion.

A closer look at the county's small schools:


Coach: Richard Thomas (seventh year).

1989-90 record: 20-10, 8-6 in Olympic League.

Returning lettermen: Five.

Returning starters: Two.

Top returners: Frank Brady (G, 5-10, Sr.); Chris Fry (C, 7-0, Jr.); Chiron Hart (F, 6-3, Jr.); Tim Nichol (F, 6-3, Sr.); Brandon Stott (G, 6-1, Sr.).

Top newcomers: Jermaine Forge (G, 6-0, Sr.); Ernest Henderson (G, 5-9, Sr.); Aaron Neilsen (F, 6-3, Sr.); Tim Osborn (F, 6-2, Jr.); Scott Thomas (F, 6-2, Soph.).

Outlook: The Warriors return five of their top eight players, and Thomas has promoted several players from last season's league-champion junior varsity. The Warriors have two strong outside shooters in Stott and Hart, who are both returning starters. But lack of an inside scorer and a playmaker could keep the Warriors from unseating defending champion Valley Christian.


Coach: Steve Middleton (second year).

1989-90 record: 7-13 free-lance schedule (First year in Arrowhead League).

Returning lettermen: Six.

Returning starters: Three. Top returners: Brian Arrowood (G, 6-0, Jr.); Jason Vanderburg (C, 6-3, Soph.); Jon Winterkorn (F, 6-0, Jr.).

Top newcomers: Darrell Coloma (G, 5-11, Soph.); Chase Lubbock (G, 5-11, Soph.); John O'Brien (F, 6-4, Jr.); Allen Tate (G, 5-10, Sr.).

Outlook: Middleton is hoping for help from three transfers: O'Brien, who averaged 19 points a game last season at Newport Christian; Tate, who transferred from Saddleback after sitting out last year, and Lubbock, who played on the freshman team last year at Garden Grove. Calvary, in its third year of existence, joins the Arrowhead League this season after struggling with an all-underclassmen lineup last season.


Coach: Art Jenkins (first year).

1989-90 record: 7-23, 2-12 in Olympic League.

Returning lettermen: One.

Returning starters: One.

Top returners: Nathan Owen (F, 6-3, Sr.).

Top newcomers: Jeff Bishop (G, 6-0, Sr.); Jeremiah Bodnar (G, 6-0, Sr.); Chuck Carlsen (C, 6-3, Soph.); Mark Chapman (F, 6-1, Sr.).

Outlook: Jenkins has no choice but to rely on Owen and the four newcomers. That's his entire team. With only five varsity players and five on the junior varsity, Jenkins expects to have many problems, especially in league. "I don't see any strengths at this time," Jenkins said. "Our weaknesses could be stated as obvious."


Coach: Matt Hansen (first year).

1989-90 record: 16-11, 9-5 in Olympic League.

Returning lettermen: Four.

Returning starters: Two.

Top returners: Brian Bedord (C, 6-3, Sr.); Matt Bode (G, 6-1, Sr.).

Top newcomers: Cory Fleming (G, 5-10, Jr.); Lenny Gavin (G, 5-11, Jr.); Chad Mihr (F, 6-3, Jr.); Chad Reed (F, 6-4, Soph.).

Outlook: Hansen begins his first year as head coach, replacing Jerry Simmons, who retired. He has two solid returners to work with in Bode and Bedord. Bode averaged eight points and four assists last season and Bedord averaged 10 points and seven rebounds. Hansen predicted a fourth-place finish for the Lancers.


Coach: Rick Bauer (third year).

1989-90 record: 21-6, 10-0 in Academy League.

Returning lettermen: Four.

Returning starters: Two.

Top returners: Mike Baksic (G, 5-10, Sr.); Geoff Hanzlik (F, 6-3, Jr.); Ravi Mruthyunjaya (G, 5-6, Soph.); Ryan Westendorf (C, 6-7, Sr.).

Top newcomers: Lupe Rodriguez (G, 5-7, Fr.); Aaron Wright (C, 6-6, Sr.).

Outlook: Westendorf is the key. He averaged 26.2 points and led the county in rebounding last season with a 19.6 average. He was the league's most valuable player and led the Tartans to the Southern Section small school final, where they lost to Ribet Academy, 68-60. The only other returning starter is Mruthyunjaya, the point guard.


Coach: John Diebold (first year).

1989-90 record: 13-8, 10-0 in Arrowhead League.

Returning lettermen: Four.

Returning starters: Three.

Top returners: Ben Carlson (F, 6-4, Sr.); Toby Dembowski (F, 6-4, Sr.); Chris Ludlow (G, 6-3, Sr.); Scott Williams (G, 6-3, Jr.).

Top newcomers: Paul Lange (F, 6-4, Sr.); Mike Hatcher (C, 6-6, Jr.).

Outlook: Diebold, who coached Newport Christian until the school folded this year, begins his first season at Southern California Christian. He compared his team with the Newport Christian squad he coached to the 1989 Southern Section finals. "That team went 22-3," he said. "We have the capability to do that with this team."


Coach: Bob Brown (third year).

1989-90 record: 14-12, 9-5 in Olympic League.

Returning lettermen: Four.

Returning starters: One.

Top returners: Ruben Oronoz (F, 6-5, Sr.).

Top newcomers: Mark Berokoff (F, 6-2, Jr.); Jacob Cuccia (G, 5-10, Soph.); Kerry Houser (F, 6-2, Jr.).

Outlook: Whittier Christian features one of the most consistent players in the league in Oronoz. The Heralds, who won the Southern Section 2-AA title two years ago, also have one of the quickest teams in the league, Brown said. But lack of a center and inexperience could keep them from challenging for the league title.

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