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BOYS' BASKETBALL PREVIEW

The Top 10

November 24, 1998|PAUL McLEOD

1 Mater Dei. Yes, the Monarchs are back in familiar territory. Five starters return and Coach Gary McKnight's program got a boost with the arrival of 6-3 freshman forward Mike Strawberry.

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2 Capistrano Valley. The county's leading scorer, J.J. Sola, has transferred in, along with former Aliso Niguel teammate Nathan Hair. Plus, Coach Brian Mulligan already had a strong nucleus.

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3 Tustin. Only time will tell if the Tillers, with two quality transfers and four returning starters, can become the unstoppable force they appear to be.

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4 Ocean View. The defending Golden West League and Southern Section Division III-AA champions are led by guard Tony Dow, the CIF's 1997-98 Division III player of the year.

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5 Katella. Veteran Coach Tom Danley is hinting that this may be his final season and what a way to go out: Four returning starters 6 feet 2 or taller, including 6-3 shooting guard Robert Abercrombie.

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6 Los Alamitos. The Griffins have lots of height and a European twist in 6-4 swingman Andrew Pleick, from Sweden, who can shoot the lights out.

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7 Sonora. Some in the Freeway League may think Troy belongs here, but the ballhandling combination of Marqui Worthy and Sunny Hills transfer Bim Okunrinboye, plus six returning lettermen, give the Raiders the edge.

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8 Newport Harbor. Ask any coach in the county which team has improved the most, and they invariably point to the Sailors, who return four starters with lots of height and determination.

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9 Villa Park. All Coach Kevin Reynolds has done in his three years with the Spartans is win three league titles. There's no reason to believe he will stop any time soon. The county's top three-point shooter, Alex Will, returns.

10 Santa Margarita. Why not? The Eagles have five seasoned seniors who saw action as understudies on last year's state Division II championship team.

On the bubble, alphabetically: Brea Olinda (new era begins with first-year coach); Canyon (lots of height); Fountain Valley (must prove worthiness after long dry spell); Irvine (some coaches say this is too low because four starters return); La Quinta (don't go against Aztecs in a three-point shooting contest); Pacifica (Garden Grove League most valuable player Adam Rachlin returns); Servite (always in the hunt for a league title); Trabuco Hills (five starters and Coach Rainer Wulf, a talented strategist, return); Troy (with all-county guard Jerry Inzunza, Warriors might be ranked too low).

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