Capistrano Valley Christian. 19-7, 10-0 in 1996-97. Coach: Frank Dews (first year). Dews just met with the team, which competes in the Academy League. Several players have come out late because of football, but Dews expects to have a competitive group this season.
Fairmont. 3-16, 2-8 in 1996-97. Coach: Bob Hubbard (first year). The team is dominated by sophomores, although starter J.P. Alacon, a 5-9 junior, returns. Senior James Lin, a 6-1 forward, also returns. Two transfers are from defunct Claremont, 6-0 senior point guard Mike Derichsweiler and 6-2 senior center Ka Hing Cheung. Hubbard, who is also the new athletic director and was an assistant coach at Southern California College, says he is excited the school's new $500,000 gymnasium is due to be opened in time for the final three home games.
Heritage Christian. 1-19, 0-10 in 1996-97. Coach: Mark Berokoff (first year). Berokoff, 23, whose brother, Jeffrey, plays at Sonora, becomes the county's youngest coach. Joel Marlowe, a 6-4 senior center, averaged 19 points and nine rebounds last season. "If he has a great game, we will be good," Berokoff said. Other contenders to start are senior center Scott Baillargean (6-4), sophomore point guard Bryan Hancock (5-10), freshman point guard Brandon Newte (5-9) and sophomore forward Todd Warner (6-3).
Liberty Christian. 3-17, 0-10 in 1996-97. Coach: Ray Williard (first year). With four starters returning, Williard has a lot to work with. His team does not have a lot of height. Senior guards Alex Sanchez and Steve Winters, both 5-10, return along with junior forward C.J. Leeman (6-0) and junior center Nick Mendoza (6-1). Juniors Sergio Andonian, a 5-8 guard, Jason Gardner, a 5-9 guard, Dante Salazar, a 5-9 swingman, and sophomore Caleb Stephens, a 5-8 guard, are battling for playing time.
Orangewood Academy. 13-8, 7-3 in 1996-97. Coach: Carey Bell (second year, 13-8). Bell has his sights set on an Academy League title. Four starters return: Robin Cortez, a 5-10 senior guard; Lewis Galbreath, a 5-9 sophomore point guard; Nick Wolfsen, a 6-6 senior center, and Oliver Karsten, a 6-2 senior forward. Starly Alvarado is a 6-3 1/2 junior forward to watch, Bell said.
Southern California Christian. 15-7, 7-3 in 1996-97. Coach: J.T. Cameron (eighth, 83-71). Chad White, a 6-1 senior forward, is the only returning starter. Also back are senior guards Marco Cervante and John Lavey, junior guard James Brantley and senior forwards Mike Shurance and Josh Farrar. Top newcomers include senior guard Sang Lee, a transfer from Esperanza, senior forward Jerone Metz, a transfer from Yucaipa, junior forwards Jason Johns and Luke Martin, sophomore forward Bill Allen and junior guard David Mader.
St. Margaret's. 11-12, 7-3 in 1996-97. Coach: Mark Dawson (first year). Three starters--James Gilbert, a 6-4 senior forward/center, James George, a 5-11 senior guard, and Alex Huff, a 6-1 sophomore swingman--are back. Also returning is 6-1 junior guard Brian Sternberg.
St. Michael's Prep. 6-10, 4-6 in 1996-97. Coach: Father Stephen Boyle (second year, 6-10). Boyle sees a very competitive Academy League race. Three starters return:seniors Micah Chaney, a 6-2 forward, and Anthony Kim, a 5-10 guard, and junior Juan Ricardo Trebel, a 6-2 forward. Others back are juniors Matthew Chaney, a 5-11 guard, Jimmy Munozcano, a 5-11 forward and sophomore Victor Alacantara, a 5-10 guard.