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CIF-SS Large Enrollment Division Preview:
Almont League 2001-02--(Oct. 30, 2001)

ALMONT LEAGUE
Alhambra
Bell Gardens
Mark Keppel
Montebello
San Gabriel
Schurr

We actually have very little information this year on the Almont League.  In fact we don't have anything at this moment on Montebello, which won the league last season.   The teams below are listed in order of finish last season.  We're not going to make any grand predictions of who is going to finish first again this year.  What follows is simply a listing of players from last year's teams who are anticipated to return.  Where we know about younger players coming up to take the place of players of last year's graduating seniors we've listed them; where we don't, we haven't.  The team records shown are the official CIF-SS season records, (league records first, and then overall records).  If you have information on a team that we're missing please send it in and we'll update the rosters.  We don't have any info on Keppel at all, because they didn't make the playoffs, and we simply haven't had time to look through the archives here at SoCalHoops.   Again, if you have info on these teams, send it in and we'll add it.

Update 12/01/01:  The San Gabriel Tribune and Pasadena Star News published its "Almont League Preview" prepared by staff writer Keven Chavez.  We've added Keven's observations to our individual team capsules (below).  Here's what he had to say about the league in general:

If nothing else, the Almont League's boys basketball season is always a battle. Five of the six teams were separated by just a four-game margin in the league standings last season, including a three-way tie for second place.  With no runaway favorite, another close finish appears likely. "The league is kind of the same very year,'' said Alhambra coach Joe Petralia. "The talent level is the same with everybody and if you have a real good player then you have an advantage. But nobody has a really good player.'' Two of the league's three locals, Keppel and San Gabriel, have first-year coaches. Al Parga seems to have the best early chance for success with his group at San Gabriel, which returns six seniors. Alhambra is one of the league's most consistent teams and seems to have a good shot at knocking off defending champion Montebello.

Almont League Rosters Almont League Schedules
Montebello--8-2, 14-12 (1st)
roster not available.

From what we've heard from other coaches in the league, Montebello is actually not considered the favorite this year for the league title.  Instead that distinction goes to Alhambra, which is widely considered to have one of the deepest teams in the league. Again, we don't know much about Montebello, but do know that they'll be in three tournaments in the early season: El Rancho, Alhambra and the LaSalle Tournament.

Update 11/27/01:  The Whittier Daily News  and their  "Prep Sports" website featured a preview of the Del Rio League today written by Roger Murray, (the original article can be found at this link).  What follows is the portion pertaining to Montebello:

Last season: 17-15, 8-2, first; Div.I-AA playoffs: defeated Aliso Niguel, 62-47, first round; lost to Glendora, 76-62, second round.

Returning starters:
Ian Parks 6'-5" Jr. C
David Montiel 5'-11" Sr. F
Christian Saenz 5'-10" Sr. F

Other key returnees:
Jose Campos 5'-10" Sr. G
Keith Ortega 5'-11" Sr. F
Armando Jimenez 6'-2' Sr. C

Key newcomers:
Jose Alvarado 5'-8" Jr. PG
Rene Gomez 5'-9" Jr. G

"Parks represents the defending league champion Oilers' lone height and first-year coach Marino Angulo said it is imperative they feed him and Jimenez in the low post to be successful. 'Right now, our front court is a concern because our guards are new,' Angulo said. 'They're strong in some phases of the game, but it will be learn-as-we-go early in the season.' "

 

Montebello
Coach: Marino Angulo
N 30 @ La Serna
D 3-7 @ El Rancho Tourn
11-15 @ Alhambra Tourn
21 @ Cantwell
26-29 @ La Salle Tourn
J 02 El Rancho
04 Duarte
08 *Bell Gardens
11 @ *ALhambra
15 @ *San Gabriel
18 *Mark Keppel
22 *Schurr
25 @ *Bell Gardens
29 *Alhambra
F 01 *San Gabriel
05 @ *Mark Keppel
08 @ *Schurr
San Gabriel-- 6-4, 15-11 (2nd tie) "Matadors"

The roster for 2001-02 includes:

Milo Alarcon 5'8 Sr. G
Patrick Cartwright 5'11 Jr. F
Eli Espitia 5'11 Sr. F
Steve Hoang 5'7 Jr. G
Maninn Khem 5'9 Sr. F
Steven Lagunas 5'8 Jr. G
Phillip Lai,  5'11 Sr. F
Ming Tu 5'7 Sr. G
Johnny Tran 5'7 Sr. G
Peter Xie  5'8 Jr. G

Coach Al Parga

Update 12/01/01:  The San Gabriel Tribune and Pasadena Star News published its "Almont League Preview" prepared by staff writer Keven Chavez.   Here's the capsule report on San Gabriel HS:

San Gabriel Matadors
Head coach: Al Parga
Tenure: First year

Top returnees:
Milo Alarcon (Sr., 5-8, G)
Phillip Lai (Sr., 5-11, G/F)
Johnny Tran (Sr., 5-7, F)
Steven Lagunas (Sr., 5-8, G)

Top newcomers:
Maninn Khen (Sr., 5-10, F)
Patrick Cartwright (Jr., 5-11, F)

Strengths: Six seniors help make the Matadors one of the most experienced teams in league. Tran is a returning all-league player and could carry some of the scoring load. 

Concerns: Not much size, even for Almont League standards. Have to replace three other all-league players, including three top scorers.

Bottom line: San Gabriel has hovered at or around the top of the league standings for several years and should stay there a while longer. The Matadors will likely have to shoot outside jumpers from all over the court, but it's something at which they're already pretty good. They are likely in for some tough battles and may have a few matchup problems underneath, but San Gabriel should remain in the hunt for the league crown.

 

San Gabriel
Coach: TBA
N 27 @ San Marino
30 Temple City
D 3-8 @ Arroyo Tourn
11-15 @ Alhambra Tourn
26-29 San Gabriel Tourn
J 02 Burbank
04 @ Gabrielino
08 @ *Schurr
11 *Bell Gardens
15 *Montebello
18 @ *Alhambra
22 @ *Mark Keppel
25 *Schurr
29 @ *Bell Gardens
F 01 @ *Montebello
05 *Alhambra
08 *Mark Keppel
Alhambra--6-4, 18-8 (2nd tie)

Returning players include:

Erich Chung    5'-8" Sr. G
Duong Nguyen   5'-7" Sr. G
Marcus Harris  6'-3" Sr. G/F
Dominic Brezeale  6'-5" Jr. C

No other roster information available.
Official CIF Schedule is at the right.

Update 12/01/01: The San Gabriel Tribune and Pasadena Star News published its "Almont League Preview" prepared by staff writer Keven Chavez. Here's the capsule report on Alhambra:

Head coach: Joe Petralia
Tenure: Seventh year

Top returnees:
Erich Chung (Sr., 5-10, G)
Duong Nguyen (Sr., 5-8, G)
Dominic Breazeale (Jr., 6-6, C)

Top newcomers:
Art Chavez (Sr., 6-3, F)
James Carmichael (Sr., 5-10, G)
Kevin Ly (Sr., 5-9, G)
Rudy De La Fuente (Jr., 6-2, F)

Strengths: The Moors are a disciplined, well-balanced group with good defensive skills. They will rely on quickness, like most other teams in the league. Breazeale, though relatively inexperienced, does give the team one inside presence.

Concerns: A somewhat inexperienced group lost two all-league players from last year. Petralia thinks his team does not shoot 3-pointers consistently well.

Bottom line: Alhambra almost always has a say in the league championship race and this year figures to be no different. The youthful Moors will look to Chung for veteran leadership and should be carried quite nicely by their all-league point guard. Alhambra finished in a three-way tie for second place last year, but if the team can find a second scoring threat and remains consistent on defense, there's little reason to think they can't end up back on top.

 

Alhambra
Coach: Joe Petralia
N 27 @ South Pasadena
30 El Monte
D 3-7 @ El Rancho Tourn
11-15 Alhambra Tourn
19 Warren
26-29@ La Salle Tourn
J 04 Hoover
08 *Mark Keppel
11 *Montebello
15 @ *Schurr
18 *San Gabriel
22 @ *Bell Gardens
25 @ *Mark Keppel
29 @ *Montebello
F 01 *Schurr
05 @ *San Gabriel
08 *Bell Gardens
Schurr--6-4, 10-15 (2nd tie) "Spartans"

Returning players include:

Shawn Oshita 5'-9" Sr. G
Sal; Robles 5'-8" Sr. G
Sean Odou 6'-3" Sr. F
Derek Lowrey 6'-2" Sr. C
Nathan Negrete 6'-1" Sr. F
Jacob Guzman 5'-10" Sr. F
(graduated 7 seniors in June)

Update 11/27/01:  The Whittier Daily News  and their  "Prep Sports" website featured a preview of the Del Rio League today written by Roger Murray, (the original article can be found at this link).  What follows is the portion pertaining to Schurr:

Last season: 10-15, 6-4, tied for second.
Returning starters:
Guard-Sean Oshita (Sr., 5-9, 160)
Center-Derek Lawrey (Sr., 6-2, 175).

Other key returnees:
Forward--Dean Odou (Sr., 6-3, 170)
Point Guard--Sal Robles (Sr., 5-7, 145)

Key newcomers:
Forward/guard--Nathan Negrete (Sr., 6-2, 165)
Forward Chris Torres (Sr., 5-11, 160)

"Fine-tuning the defense in preparation for a run at the league title will be the priority in nonleague, according to coach Paul Chavez, who listed overall team quickness as a strength and the usual lack of height as an area of concern. 'The difference between this team and last year's is that the kids seem to jell; they're a more cohesive team, very unselfish,' Chavez said. Oshita and Lowrey are the cornerstones, with the addition of Torres, who was the junior varsity MVP last season."

 

Schurr
Coach: Paul Chavez
N 27 @ El Rancho
29 Santa Fe
D 3-7 @ El Rancho Tourn
14 Cantwell Scrd Heart
15 Bosco Tech
18-22 @ Paloma Settlement Tourn
26-29 @ Brea Olinda Tourn
J 08 *San Gabriel
11 @ *Mark Keppel
15 *Alhambra
18 *Bell Gardens
22 @ *Montebello
25 *San Gabriel
29 *Mark Keppel
F 01 @ *Alhambra
05 @ *Bell Gardens
08
Bell Gardens--4-5, 11-14 (5th)

Ismael Varela  6'-2" Sr. F
Enrique Vargas 6'-2" Sr. C
Arcenio Ramirez  5'-10" Sr. G
Tobia Sala 5'-10" Sr. G
Gary Klarer 6'-2" Jr. G/F
Adam Robles 5'-9" Sr. G
Ray Ochoa  5'-10" Sr. G
Miguel Rosales  6'-6" Sr. F
Ruben Catani 6'-0" Sr. G
Gus Estrada 6'-2" Sr. F
Robert Argumedo 5'-9" Jr. G
Andy Saiz 6'1" So. G
Mark Soto 6'-1" Fr. G
Cesar Rivas 6'-0" Fr. G
Alex Lizarraga  5'-7" Sr. G

The roster information above was provided by Bell Gardens Assistant coach Al Cuevas, so it's assumed to be accurate for this season.  Bell Gardens also has a website devoted their basketball teams, so you can follow them throughout the season by checking in there as well.

 

Bell Gardens
Coach: Fidel Elizarrez
N 21  Salesian (scrimmage)
N 27 @ La Serna
29 @ El Rancho
30 West Covina
D 3-8 @ Arroyo Tourn
D 11-14  Azusa Tourn.
D 26-29 Nogales Tourn.
04 Diamond Bar
08 @ *Montebello
11 @ *San Gabriel
15 *Mark Keppel
18 @ *Schurr
22 *Alhambra
25 *Montebello
29 *San Gabriel
F 02 @ *Mark Keppel
05 *Schurr
08 @ *Alhambra
Mark Keppel -- 0-10,  4-19 (6th)

Roster not available.

We'll be the first to admit, we have no idea who will be on the Mark Keppel team this season.  They didn't turn in a CIF Playoff media sheet, for obvious reasons.  It can only get better this season. . . .

Schedule information for Keppel is at the right........----------->

Updated 12/01/01:  The San Gabriel Tribune and Pasadena Star News published its "Almont League Preview" prepared by staff writer Keven Chavez.   Here's the capsule report on Keppel:

Keppel Aztecs
Head coach: Hong Duong
Tenure: First year

Top returnees:
Michael Lai (Sr., 6-4 ,C)
Jeff Yamauchi (Jr., 5-7, G)
Jason Yano (Jr., 5-10, F)

Top newcomer:
Andrew Gomez (Jr., 5-7, PG)

Strengths: Keppel will run up and down the court and play a full-court pressing defense. Duong, who has coached freshman basketball at Keppel for the past two years, is relatively familiar with the players and system.

Concerns: Just one senior starter returns, leaving a fairly inexperienced group behind Lai. Not much depth in the frontcourt.

Bottom line: Keppel may have the shortest turnaround time for the teams with new coaches. Duong led some of these players to a freshman league title and should blend in quickly. The Aztecs were a non-factor last season (0-10, 4-19) but figure to be a little improved. A second consecutive winless league mark seems unlikely and with so many other programs going through wholesale changes, Keppel may have a chance to sneak into the league's upper half.

Mark Keppel
Coach: Huang Duong
N 26 Rosemead
29 Glenn
D 03 @ Arroyo Tourn
18 @ Irvine Tourn
26 @ Covina Tourn
J 02 Glendale
03 Temple City
08 @ *Alhambra
11 *Schurr
15 @ *Bell Gardens
18 @ *Montebello
22 *San Gabriel
25 *Alhambra
29 @ *Schurr
F 01 *Bell Gardens
05 *Montebello
08 @ *San Gabriel

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