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BOYS' BASKETBALL PREVIEW

South Coast League

November 24, 1998

Capistrano Valley: 20-9, 7-3 in 1997-98. Coach: Brian Mulligan (fourth year, 53-28). The transfers of county scoring leader J.J. Sola (26.7 points), a 6-7 guard, and Nathan Hair, a 6-5 guard, from Aliso Niguel make the Cougars an instant title contender. Three starters return, including 6-3 co-league most valuable player Mike Stowell (16.7 points, 6.6 rebounds) and 6-foot guards Jermaine McDaniel (4.1 assists) and Lucas Pace. Reserves Tom Pincott, a 5-11 guard who averaged 5.7 points, and Jim Bosma, a 6-3 forward, are also back.

Dana Hills: 13-14, 6-4 in 1997-98. Coach: Mark Thornton (third year, 29-26). Two starters and a pair of lettermen return and Thornton also has two transfers he is counting on. Starting guards Bret Nowell (6-3) and Tommy Gallups (6-0) are joined by their backups, 6-2 Jeremy Walker and 5-10 Darvell Meyers. Will Butler, a 6-3 guard who transferred from Moreno Valley Canyon Springs, and Jeremy Cooley, a 6-8 center who transferred from Aliso Niguel, should see plenty of action. Four players 6 feet 3 or taller are up from the junior varsity team. Thornton believes Nowell has the potential to be one of the "top three-point shooters in the county," but isn't sure the Dolphins have enough depth to finish higher than third in the league race.

Mater Dei: 21-8, 7-3 in 1997-98. Coach: Gary McKnight (17th year, 475-42. McKnight, with 18 players on his roster, should be a shoo-in for his 500th victory. The Monarchs have one of the toughest schedules they have had in many years, but they're loaded with talent again. Five starters and 10 players overall return. Guards Cedric Bozeman, Derrick Mansell and Steve Scoggin (14.2 points, 7.8 assists) are back, as are forwards Steve Henderson, who started the last 15 games of the season, and Mike Bayer (54.7% field-goal shooting), the league's co-most valuable player. Mike Strawberry, a 6-5 freshman forward and nephew of New York Yankees outfielder Darryl Strawberry, was a human highlight film during the summer. Sophomore Erik Soderberg, 6-9, who started 14 games last year, and Christian McGuigan, a 6-2 guard, return.

Mission Viejo: 8-17, 2-8 in 1997-98. Coach: Jeff Cunningham (second year, 8-17). Kyle Ulrich, a 6-foot guard who averaged 4.4 points and 2.1 rebounds, and Francis Ireifej, a 6-2 swingman who averaged 5.4 points and five rebounds, are returning starters. Also back are Garrett Fern, a 6-3 swingman, and Jordan Million, a 6-foot guard. Matt Cole, a 6-2 swingman, Steve Floyd, a 6-2 swingman, Travis Niesen, a 6-4 forward, and Jon Shieh, a 5-10 guard, are up from the lower levels.

San Clemente: 13-14, 3-7 in 1997-98. Coach: Brad Davis (second year, 13-14). Davis is pleased with team defense and believes he has a half-dozen solid players. Joe Tatala, a 6-5 center, is one of three starters returning. Also back are Brian George, a 6-6 forward, and Mitch Pierce, a 6-5 swingman. Dan Montecinos, a 6-1 forward/center, Ben Straley, a 5-10 guard, and Mike Yovanovich, a 6-1 center, also expect to see lots of playing time.

Trabuco Hills: 14-12, 5-5 in 1997-98. Coach: Rainer Wulf (12th year, 186-121). If the Mustangs can rebound with taller opponents, Wulf should get his 200th career victory this season. Five starters and seven other lettermen return. Brandon Martin, a 6-5 second-team all-league pick, joins 6-5 Evan Fields (8.3 rebounds) and 6-6 Brendon Martin, who made 41 of 115 three-point shots, on the front line. Brendan Casey, a 6-1 guard, and Brandon Heaney, 6-foot guard, are also back.

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