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CIF-SS Large Enrollment Division Preview:
Freeway League 2001-02--(Nov. 4, 2001)

FREEWAY LEAGUE
Buena Park
Fullerton
La Habra
Sonora
Sunny Hills
Troy

The Freeway League last season was one of those unusual leagues which sent every team to the playoffs including it's bottom two finishers (5th and 6th place teams), but didn't send the 4th place team, Buena Park, which finished with a record below the 11 win-threshold required for playoff teams, and out of contention in league competition. The league title is currently held by Sonora, but it was a program which was in transition, and some degree of turmoil, resulting in several players transferring to other schools, including Sonora's best all-around prospect, Marcellus Roberson, a 6'-7" senior who transferred to La Habra over the summer.   As for the rest of the league, it looks like Sunny Hills returns the most complete roster from last season, but whether that will be enough for a league title, is anyone's guess right now.  Fullerton, Troy, and La Habra will all challenge and in fact any of them is capable of putting together a string of wins and possibly a league title this year; as for Buena Park, we just don't have a clue (so help us all out anyone if you know.....hint hint).

What follows is what we know about the teams thus far this season, which means we're looking at old rosters and trying to predict who will be returning and which younger players will be stepping up.  The schedules are accurate as far as we know. We encourage coaches to send us their official rosters (via e-mail, not on the message board, please) and any other information about their teams so we can update the previews and rosters as the season progresses.

Freeway League Rosters Freeway League Schedules
Sonora--10-0, 25-4  (1st)   "Raiders"

Given the turmoil last year, we really have no idea if all the players listed last season during the playoffs (other than Roberson, who transferred) will be returning.   If they are, here are the guys slated to come back:

Jake Trevo 5'-9" Sr. G
Travis Rogers 5'-9" Sr. G
Randy Rogers 5'-9" Sr. G
Larence Knight 6'-4" Sr. F
Matt Salinas 6'-9" Sr. C
David Mayfield 6'-2" sr. F
Jon Fews 6'-4" Sr. F
Terrence Johnson 6'-0" Jr. G

OC Register Updated Roster 11/21/01:

Returners:

Travis Rogers 5'-9"Sr. G
Randy Rogers 5'-9" Jr. G
Jake Tr3ejo 5'-9" Sr. G
LaRence Knight 6'-4" Sr. F
Matt Salinas 6'-9" Jr. C
Jon Fews 6'-4" Sr. F
Terrance Johnston 6'-0" Jr. G

Newcomers to watch:

Jeff Arnold 6'-9" So. C
Josh Scott 6'-0" So. G
Kevin Rush 6'-3" Sr. F
Tyuler Smith 6'-0" Sr. G

OC Register's outlook:  "The Raiders bring back the bulk of last year's team, which rolled through league play.  A close loss in the postseason has them motivated for another title run."

Sonora
Coach: Mike Murphy

N-26/D-1 @ Mission Viejo Tourn
D 7 Foothill
10-15 @ Sonora Tourn
26-29 @ Mt. Carmel Tourn
J 02 @ Capistrano Valley
04 @ Esperanza
09 @ La Habra
11 *Buena Park
16 *Troy
18 @ *Fullerton
21 @ *Sunny Hills
25 *La Habra
30 @ *Buena Park
F 01 @ *Troy
02 @ Centennial/Cor
05 *Fullerton
07 *Sunny Hills

Sunny Hills--6-4, 17-9 (2nd) "Lancers"

The Lancers don't usually have much height, but they will return 4 of 5 starters from last year, including Clay Carmody, and actually will have one of the more impressive frontlines in Orange County this year. They only graduated 2 seniors, and thus are pretty much intact and poised for a run through the league. Here's who we expect to see returning;

Gerard Rivera 5'11" Sr. G
Brent Campanelli 6'0" Sr. G
Jon Shaw 6'3" Jr. G/F
Tony Gonzalez 6'5" Jr. F
Clay Carmody 6'7" Sr. F/C
Michael Kintzle 6'6" Sr. F/C
Mickey Gonzalez 6'6" So. C
Arque Rivera 6'0" So. G
Brandyn Toney 6'4" Jr. G/f
Evan Young 6'2" Sr. G/f
Ryan Preston 6'3" Sr. F
Deep Bhavsar 5'10" Sr. G
Nick Pak 5'10" Jr. G
Nam Nguyen 5'11" Sr. G
Adam Thomas 5'10" Sr. G

Sunny Hills lost to semifinalist Claremont (lost to Mater Dei in semis) in the first round of the CIF I-A playoffs,  and, as noted above, they return 8 players including all five starters.  The key players will be Clay Carmody- Senior, F/C, 6'7" 220 lbs. 1st Team All-Freeway League selection last season. Carmody averaged 14 pts, 7 rebs, 2 blks per game during the summer. He runs the floor well, has great hands, nice mid-range jump shot and good footwork and coordination.  They also return Tony Gonzalez, another 1st Team All-Freeway League selection who averaged 12 pts, 6 rebs, 3 asts during the summer. He has excellent athletic ability, and may arguably be among the best juniors in Orange County, along with Wesley Washington and Harrison Schaen from Mater Dei.  The Lancers also return Jon Shaw who can play inside or outside. He's very strong physically, and averaged 7 pts, 4 rebs during the summer.

OC Register Update 11/21/01: 

Sorry, but the paper didn't add anything we didn't already have.  They did state the following though in their "outlook" portion:   "Teh Lancers should boast the best frontcourt in the league with Carmody and Tony Gonzalez, but development at guard will determine if another playoff berth is realistic."

 

Sunny Hills
Coach: Randy Wellen

N-26/D-1 @ Buena Park Tourn
D 05 @ Katella
07 Glenn
10-15 Sunny Hills Tourn
21 @ Valencia
26-29 @ Century Tourn
J 02 @ Loara
09 *Troy
11 *Fullerton
16 @ *Buena Park
18 @ *La Habra
21 *Sonora
25 @ *Troy
30 @ *Fullerton
F 01 *Buena Park
05 *La Habra
07 @ *Sonora

Fullerton--5-5, 18-9 (3rd)  "Indians"

Fullerton retuns just about everyone from a team which was young last year and which promises to have quite a few more young players coming up from JV. They appear to have lots of height, plenty of guards and we'll find out whether Brett Horner, a 6'-8" Fr. who is anticipated to be on the team will help this season. Here's who we'd expect to see on the roster:

Tahmores Matin  6'-0" Sr. F
Cody Markin  6'-4" Jr. F
Phillip Gross 6'-0" Sr. G
*Brian Garcia 6'-4' Sr. F
Darren Fells 6'-4" So. F
Ricky Reynoso 5'-10" So. G
Brendan Shoemaker 6'-4" So. F
Virgil Bobar  6'-6" jr. F--transferred to Buena Park
*Chris Stevenson 6'-4' Sr. F
*Jack Thompson 6'-0" Sr. G
Mustapha Baion 5'-10" So. G
Brandon Blackmon 5'-10" Jr. F
Brett Horner  6'-8" Fr. F
Michael Echaves 5'-11" Sr. G
Geovanny Villalba 6'-1" Sr. G

* returning players

Whether Hoerner plays varsity or not is apparently going to be something that only the next week or so will tell.  There are reportedly three stronger, bigger, and/or more experienced and older forwards ahead of him, only one of which, (Cody Markin) was on last year's roster. We've also heard that Rory Woods a senior transfer from Troy and M. Echavez (who is the school's varsity football quarterback, who didn't play as a junior), will also play this season. As a result, it's possible that some of the young talented players may spend a season on JV where they will get more playing time. We've also heard that Joe Caine, last year's JV PG, now a junior and John Cherrette 6'-5" Jr. F will also be on the varsity roster, but there's been no official confirmation as of yet.  According to our observer, "Lot of tall ball-handlers. If they can effect a swarming defense (effective press?), they may challenge even Sunny Hills."    They may be shorthanded early though because apparently water polo or football will keep Gross, Echavez, Garcia, Thompson, Fells, Reynoso, and Stevenson from working out until after CIF playoffs in both of those sports.

OC Register's outlook 11/21/01: "Th4e Indians will again use motion offense to mask their lack of team size, and a core of seniors should provide the chance to advance further into the playoffs." .

Fullerton
Coach: Bill Czech

N 26 Western Christian
29 @ Bassett
D 3-8 Darren Oliver Classic
10-15 @ Troy Tourn
19 @ Santa Fe
20 Pioneer
J 09 @ *Buena Park
11 @ *Sunny Hills
16 *La Habra
18 *Sonora
21 @ *Troy
25 *Buena Park
30 *Sunny Hills
F 01 @ *La Habra
05 @ *Sonora
07 *Troy

Buena Park--4-6, 8-18 (4th)

Our original analysis:

As noted above, this is one of those anomalies life that will puzzle many:  How can the 5th place and 6th place teams qualify for playoffs, when a 4th place team doesn't?  Easy.  In a 6-team league, only the top half, i.e. 1-3 qualify.  The others may qualify for playoff spots, but only if they have more than 11 wins overall, which is something that Buena Park couldn't pull off last season.  So as a result, we don't have roster information from the playoffs, but we have heard that Virgil Bobar, Fullerton's All-CIF center/forward has transferred to Buena Park -which is actually his home area, (Fullerton and Buena Park are in the same open enrollment school district -as is the
whole league).

Of course, we'll update this if someone sends us a roster.  Hint, hint.   In the meantime, enjoy the schedule at right.

*********

OC Register 11/21/01 update:

Returners:

Rany Urias 5'-11" Sr. G
Zack Barker 6'-2" Sr. G
Gene Ikahihifo 6'-0" Sr. F
Gherghe Rosca 5'-10 Jr. G
Victor Cazares 6'-1" Jr. F

Newcomers to watch:

James Johnson 6'-1" Sr. G
Christon Butts 6'-2" So. G
Christopher Butts 6'-2" So. F
DeAndre Robinson 6'-4" So. F
Virgil Bobar 6'-6" Jr. F (Fullerton transfer)

Register's outlook:  "The Coyotes lack size [what about Bobar?] which might make contending ihn the deep Freeway difficult, but Matillo is hopeful a solid sophomore class can help improve from last year's finish."

Buena Park
Coach: Ed Matillo

N-26/D-1 Buena Park Tourn
D 3-8 @ La Quinta Tourn
11 Tustin
14 Santa Ana
21 @ California
26-29 @ Katella Tourn
J 05 @ Edison
09 *Fullerton
11 @ *Sonora
16 *Sunny HIlls
18 *Troy
21 @ *La Habra
25 @ *Fullerton
30 *Sonora
F 01 *Sunny Hills
05 @ *Troy
07 @ *La Habra

Troy H.S.--3-7, 12-15 (5th) "Warriors"

Troy returns the two Hardeman brothers, both very talented as well as top scoring guard Nate Gilkes and several other solid players, having graduated only 2 seniors.  Coach TJ Hardeman also has his team playing a good non-league schedule with two local tournaments and a trip to the 8th Annual Lahainaluna Tournament in Maui, always one of the more competitive tournaments in the islands.  Here's who we expect to see on the roster:

Trent Hardeman 6'-4" Jr. G/F
Travis Hardeman 6'-5" Jr. F/G
Graig Olson 6'-1" Sr. G
George Raco 5'-10" So. G
Justin Wang 5'-8" sr. G
Rory Woods 5'-9" Sr. G
Garv Chadha 6'-0" Sr. G
Kevin Dalafu 6'-0" Jr. G
Matt Davis Ratner 5'-0" Sr. G
Nate Gilkes 6'-2" Jr. G
Brian Graham 6'-4" So. F
*Doug Gomez 6'-5" So. F
Garrett Baird 6'-2" Sr. G
(graduated only 2 seniors)

*Newcomer to watch

OC Register's outlook 11/21/01: "Four returning starters should help the Warriors go deeper in the playoffs, but rebounding is a major question mark on a team built largely on perimeter shooting. "

Troy
Coach: TJ Hardeman

N-27/D-1 @ Loara Tourn
D 05 @ El Dorado
06 @ Esperanza
08 Valencia
10-15 @ No Orange Co Tourn
19-22 @ Maui, Hi
J 02 Brea Olinda
09 @ *Sunny Hills
11 *La Habra
16 @ *Sonora
18 @ *Buena Park
21 *Fullerton
25 *Sunny Hills
30 @ *La Habra
F 01 *Sonora
05 *Buena Park
07 @ *Fullerton

La Habra--2-8, 11-16 (6th)

We don't have a current roster for La Habra, but we do know that both Dominique Sims 5'-10" Sr. G and Marcellus Roberson 6'-7" Sr. F, who transferred from Sonora, are expected to be two starters.  While not complete, this is what we know:

Sean Mc Donough 6'4 Jr. F/G
Carver Kennerson 6'5 Sr. F
Marcellus Roberson 6'7 Sr. F
Tyler McShane 6'2 Jr G
Dominique Sims 6'0 Sr. G
Mario Rizo 5'10 So.G
Josh Salo 5'10 So.G
Tony Magana 5'10 Jr. G
Zephram Hamlin 6'1 So. G
Joshua McDevitt

OC Register update 11/21/01:

The only player added to the list above by the Register in it's league preview was:

Newcomer to watch:

Matt Borders 6'-5" Fr. C

The Register's outlook stated the following:  "A rugged preseason schedule will prepare the Highlanders for a league that all Freeway coaches agree is the deepest (and best) in many yhears.  Falconer is excited about Robertson [sic] a transfer from Sonora who should be a defensive force."

We saw La Habra early this summer competing in Palm Springs, and they will be competitive, perhaps more competitive than last season, and they'll need to be to avoid a last place league finish.    The school has a website (click on the name "La Habra" above, but it only has schedules, not roster info.  Based on the schedule, we know that Craig Falconer will be taking his team to Hawaii for the Walter Wong Tournament at St. Louis HS in Honolulu.

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 La Habra:

Last season: 11-7, 2-8, sixth; Div.II-A playoffs: lost to Charter Oak, 79-76, first round.

Returning starters:
Forward/center Sean McDonough (Jr., 6-2, 190)
Forward/guard Carver Kennerson (Sr., 6-2)
Forward Tyler McShane (Jr., 6-1)

Other key returnees:
Guard Dominique Sims (Sr., 5-10)
Guard Mario Rizo (Jr., 5-10)
Guard Josh Salo (Fr., 5-11)
Guard Tony Magana (Jr., 5-10)

Key newcomers:
Center Marcellus Robertson (Sr., 6-6, 225)
Center Matt Borders (Fr., 6-5, 200).

'McDonough is in his third year with the varsity and probably will move to forward to make room for Robertson, a transfer from Sonora, where he was one of the Raiders' best players last season.

Did not submit schedule

 

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