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2000-01 BOYS' BASKETBALL PREVIEW

Golden West League

November 28, 2000

Ocean View

Coach: Jim Harris

1999-2000 record: 29-4

League record: 8-0

With the Lakewood Artesia program in rebuilding mode after the dismissal of its longtime coach, Wayne Merino, Ocean View should be the favorite to win the Division II-A championship. The Seahawks, who lost to the Pioneers in last season's title game, return four starters, including Times' Orange County first-team selection Marques Crane and scrappy guard Torin Beeler. The duo combined for more than 35 points and 15 rebounds a game last season and should improve on those numbers. Centers Neal Smith and Jason Roth also return for Ocean View, which should waltz to another league title. The combined overall record of the league's other four teams last season was 24-76. Look for Seahawk reserves Steve Clarke, Casey Ortiz and Kevin Chow to get extended minutes. Coach Jim Harris has assembled a strong, versatile team with good inside-outside balance. Ocean View lacks a proven point guard, but the presence of Crane and Beeler along the wings will present many problems for opponents.

Saddleback

Coach: Tim Mesenhimer

1999-2000 record: 5-20

League record: 3-5

Senior guard Ismael Isais, who last season averaged 17 points a game, is expected to have another banner year for the Roadrunners. But for Saddleback to improve on its third-place league finish, it must incorporate its reserves and newcomers into the lineup. Robert Gonzalez, a 6-1 junior forward, is the only returning starter besides Isais, meaning that the returning role players--Joel Gonzalez, a 6-1 senior forward; Peter Nguyen, a 5-8 senior guard, and Humberto Higareda, a 6-0 senior forward--must step up their contributions. Coach Tim Mesenhimer also needs newcomers Marcus Bordeaux and George Guerrero to mature quickly.

Santa Ana

Coach: Adrian Gomez

1999-2000 record: 11-15

League record: 5-3

The Saints could slip a place or two in league this season unless a host of newcomers develops quickly. Rick Montelongo, a 6-2 senior forward who last season averaged eight points a game, is the only returning starter. Senior guards Alfredo Arzate and Johnny Morena are also back, but the onus will be on a trio of sophomores promoted from the freshman team. Guards Brandon McGee, Derrick Ates and Daniel Alejandro, who led Santa Ana's freshman team to its first league title in 15 years, will immediately be thrown into the fray.

Tustin

Coach: Richard Bossenmeyer

1999-2000 record: 3-23

League record: 2-6

Expectations are high for a team led by former Orange Coach Richard Bossenmeyer, who went 91-60 and made five playoff appearances in six seasons with the Panthers. Bossenmeyer said his team must adjust quickly to his style and system of play to succeed. The Tillers' only returning starter is Chris Chester, a 6-4 senior forward, though four others with experience also are back: junior guard Josh Laurent, junior forward Ricky Miller, senior guard Erik Westrom and senior guard AntaeusCQ Walker. Duane Nix, a 6-2 senior guard, is a transfer from Rancho Alamitos.

Westminster

Coach: Jess Miramontez

1999-2000 record: 5-18

League record: 2-6

Coach Jess Miramontez, in his second season, likes to consider his a program on the rise. The Lions have seven returning lettermen--guard Hugo Miranda and forwards Steve Marinca and Ronnie Graham are returning starters--and waged a marginally successful summer campaign. But none of the returners averaged more than eight points a game last season, and Westminster will surely need one or two go-to players to compete with Ocean View and the rest of the league.

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