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Santa Margarita Officials Not Happy With Latest Plan to Change Leagues


The Southern Section Council, which will meet today in Buena Park, is scheduled to vote on a constitutional amendment that could eventually move six Catholic schools out of public school leagues.

The amendment, which needs a two-thirds approval to pass, would allow the section's executive committee to invoke "special circumstances" to make changes in schools' area placement without waiting for releaguing cycles--which, on the average, last four years--to expire.

Should the amendment be approved, a majority vote by the committee would enable the section to move Mater Dei, Santa Margarita, Servite, Rosary, La Verne Damien and Glendora St. Lucy's out of their public school leagues and into Catholic school leagues.

Santa Margarita officials, who have vehemently opposed all efforts to move it out of a public school league, have threatened to go to court if the measure passes.

"I don't feel real good about the vote," Santa Margarita Principal Merritt Hemenway said. "People have told me it won't go our way. I hope there are enough reasonable people who understand the nature of geography and how it affects kids.

"I hope the vote is close. And if we lose, we would appeal to the state CIF office."


Pete Belanto said his decision to leave coaching after directing Capistrano Valley girls' basketball for five seasons came down to a matter of priorities.

He announced his decision after coaching the South to a 73-70 victory in the Orange County All-Star Game.

"I need a break," Belanto said. "My son played a Little League game tonight at 5 [same time as the game], and though this was a lot of fun, I'd much rather be there."

Belanto's record over five seasons was 83-54. Capistrano Valley, 21-7 this season and 40-16 the last two, shared the South Coast League title, but was upset by El Toro in the second round of the Division I-AA playoffs.


With their victory Saturday, the South girls have won 14 of the 21 Orange County All-Star games presented by the Costa Mesa Kiwanis Club.

One of the reasons the South's 73-70 victory was so close was because of the shooting of Villa Park's Missy Bynon in the late stages of the game.

Bynon finished with a game-high 20, and she made four three-point baskets--three in the final 3:18. She had 13 points in the final 3:39 with the North trailing, 64-55.

Bynon made four of seven three-pointers. However, during a halftime three-point shooting contest, she missed her five shots.

Rosary's Sarah Belavic won the three-point contest.


Deni Christensen, who resigned as the girls' basketball coach at Aliso Niguel to concentrate on raising her family, said one day she would like to coach a boys' team.

"Coaching is coaching, but athletes are different," she said. "I really liked coaching the [lower level] boys in cross-country. Boys are pretty simple when it comes to their psychology. They're easily motivated. You can be direct with them when they know you care about them."

Christensen, who began the Aliso Niguel program, said she will continue to coach privately, working with post players.


Outside halfback Kim Stempkowski of Edison High has agreed to play soccer at Long Beach State next fall, her father Joe, said. Stempkowski also considered Concordia and Chapman.

Stempkowski, 18, scored 11 goals and had five assists for Edison, which won the Sunset League and reached the second round of the section Division I playoffs. Among her awards were league offensive player of the year, Times All-County first team, and the section Division I first team.


Esperanza's athletic director, Dianne Genduso, on Monday lamented the loss of girls' soccer Coach Phyllis Scarborough. Genduso said Scarborough retired "to spend more time with her grandchildren."

"This is a tremendous loss for Esperanza. She has been a great person, a great coach and the program has grown a lot under her leadership," Genduso said. "She will be missed."

Scarborough's record with Esperanza was 100-47-35 over seven years. The Aztecs won an Empire League title in 1992, and were Southern Section finalists in 1994.


Laguna Hills junior Ashley Furst set the school record in the 400-meter run Saturday at the Orange County Championships. Furst won in 57.1 seconds, which broke Tiffany Boykin's record of 58.3 set in 1994. The mark bettered the county's best performance this season by 1.2 seconds.


The Baron Classic softball tournament, originally scheduled for consecutive weekends but postponed because of a storm that wiped out the first weekend's games, will be completed Saturday with only eight of the original 24 teams participating. The two favorites, Foothill and Mater Dei, are playing in the quarterfinals of the Thousands Oaks tournament.

In the Fountain Valley championship bracket, El Modena plays San Diego Serra and Marina plays San Diego Scripps beginning at 4 p.m.; the title game is 8 p.m.

In the consolation bracket, Laguna Hills plays Calvary Chapel and Fountain Valley plays Lakewood St. Joseph.

Times staff writer Martin Henderson and correspondent Dan Arritt contributed to this story.

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