The New Southern California Basketball

CIF-SS Large Enrollment Division Preview:
Serra League 2001-02--(Nov. 10, 2001)

Mater Dei
Santa Margarita
St John Bosco

The Serra League is not just one of the most competitive leagues in Orange County, it is probably the most successful and competitive, year in and year out.  Of course, the league has only been in existence for four years, but so what.  In that span, Mater Dei has been to two state championships, winning one, and Santa Margarita has also won a state title in their division.   Prior to last season, we wrote about Mater Dei as follows:

"Mater Dei has been one of the most consistently successful programs in the country for close to twenty years now.  They've won 3 State Titles (87,  90, 95) and will be looking for a 4th this year.   Since 1983, they've won an unprecedented 14 Southern Section Championships (83, 85, 86, 87, 88, 90, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 99 and 00), and 18 league championships (83 through 87, and 89-00, missing out only in 1988."

That was written before the Monarchs won their 4th State title, 19th league championship, and 15th Southern Section title.    Last year's team had a number of D-I players, including Jamal Sampson (6'-11" C) who is now at Cal, Cedric Bozeman (6'-7" G) who is the starting point guard at UCLA, Ricky Porter (6'-1" G) who is on scholarship at UC Riverside, Shaun Michel (6'-3" G) who will be playing this year at NAIA Pt. Loma Nazarene, and Brian Baker who is at D-II Central Missouri State.   This year, they return some of the most talented young players anywhere, including Harrison Schaen (6'-8 Jr. F), Wesley Washington (6'-4" Jr. G), Travonte Nelson (5'-11" Jr. G), Mike Strawberry (6'-4" Sr. G), and some very talented newcomers as well.  They may not be considered as talented or as powerful as last season's spectacular squad, but they're about as talented as any team in Southern California.

Unfortunately, only one team can win the league title, and this year Santa Margarita returns most of the roster from last season and will have as good a chance as it's had since the formation of the Serra League to steal the crown from Mater Dei.  Led by three seniors (two of whom will all sign D-I National Letters of Intent in a few weeks: Brandon Rohe to Santa Clara, Travis Smith to San Diego, and Lenny Collins has committed to Cornell, but the Ivy doesn't subscribe to the NLI system), the Eagles are as talented as any team in Orange County, and always well coached.  The Eagles have a nice website for most of their sports, and while they've updated the schedules, they have yet to post this season's official rosters.   

In any other league, St. John Bosco and Servite would be considered favorites, but given the level of competition at Mater Dei and Santa Margarita, the latter two teams have been relegated to duking it out for third place in the past.   That might change this season since Bosco returns a very talented and experienced team, led by seniors Giovanni St. Amant, Donald Quiroz, Kevin Cape, and some excellent young players.  Servite probably won't win a league title, but we're looking forward to seeing them in the playoffs this year.

Update 11/27/01:   The Long Beach Press Telegram's "Prep Sports" section (also a website) featured it's boys' basketball prep previews today and yesterday (11/26 & 11/27), and among the leagues and teams featured was a brief rundown by staff writers James Melroy and Ted Kian on the Serra League.  Here's the excerpt on the Serra League which can be found as part of the story in the link above:

In just four years of existence, the Serra League has produced two state champions. Mater Dei and Santa Margarita have been the league's elite teams, with each winning one state championship from the league. St. John Bosco has usually been relegated to battling for third place with Servite, but the Braves could actually make some noise among the top two this season. In his fourth year as a varsity player, senior guard Giovanni St. Amant is without question the Braves' leader on the court. The 6-3 St. Amant is a talented scorer who can produce inside and on the perimeter. St. John Bosco will have plenty of help for its talented star. Junior point guard Eric Lane was superb last season as the team's playmaker, while senior Donald Quiroz is the team's best 3-point threat. Though not as big up front as the Monarchs and Eagles, senior Kevin Cape (6-5), sophomore Mike Davis and junior Roy Alugbue (6-4) provide decent size.  

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.

Serra League Rosters Serra League Schedules
Mater Dei--6-0, 24-2 (1st) "Monarchs"

Players expected to return and to join the Monarchs' roster for 2001-2002 are:

Mike Strawberry 6'-5" Sr. G/F
Travante Nelson 5'-10" Jr. G
Kenny Chicoine 6'-2" Sr. G
Wesley Washington 6'-3" Jr. G
Harrison Schaen 6'-9" Jr. F/C
Pat Joyce 6'-4" So. F
Chris Henry 6'-6" So. F
Robert Seaborn 6'-2" So. G
Chris Henry 6'-8" So. F
Marcel Jones  6'-3" So. G

Again, it bears repeating that this team graduated 11 seniors, including All-Americans Jamal Sampson and Cedric Bozeman, as well as Shaun Michel, Ricky Porter, Brian Baker, and Travis Gabler, but there are some very talented guys returning, and once again, they will play a very tough schedule, starting with a matchup against Claremont, which lost to Mater Dei in the semifinals of the I-A playoffs.   They'll also be in the Tournament of Champions at Ocean View, and then up at the Les Scwab tournament in Beaverton.  Mater Dei will also host the Nike Extravaganza again this year on February 2, and they'll play national power Oak Hill.

Update 11/27/01:  The Orange County Register published it's Serra League preview today.  Here's what they said about Mater Dei:

Coach: Gary McKnight (20th yer, 576-50)
2000 Record, league finish :33-2, 6-0 (1st)

Mike Strawberry 6'-5" Sr. F
Travonte Nelson  5'-11" Jr. G
Wesley Washington 6'-3" Jr. G
Harrison Schaen 6'-9" Jr. F
Kenny Chicoine 6'-1" Sr. G

Newcomers to watch:
Mike Gerrity 5'-11" Fr. G
Colt Brennan 6'-3" Sr. G
Joe Flores 6'-0" Sr. G
Damiel Markus 6'-0" Sr. G
Pat Joyce 6'-4" So F
Derek Pinner 6'-1" Sr. F
Marcel Jones 6'-6" So. F
Bryan Maeda 5'-9" Sr. G
Chris Henry 6'-9" So. F
D.J. Strawberry 6'-5" So. F

Outlook:  Replacing 2000-01 county player of the yar Cedric Bozeman (UCLA) and Jamal Sampson (Cal) won't be easy.  But the Monarchs have enough returning talent to make another run at a league championship and another CIF-SS title.


Mater Dei
Coach: Gary McKnight

N 28 @ Claremont (@ Glendora)
D 04 @ Carlsbad (@ Santa Margarita)
07 @ Costa Mesa
10-15 @ Ocean View Tourn
19-22 @ Beaverton, OR Tourn
26-29 @ Orange Tourn
J 02 @ La Habra
05 Villa Park
09 *Servite
11 *Santa Margarita
12 @ Westminster
18 @ *St John Bosco
19 @ Horizon (@ Lynwood)
25 @ *Santa Margarita
30 @ *Servite
F 02 Oak Hill (@ LB Pyramid)
06 *St John Bosco

extravaganza-logo.gif (2795 bytes)

Saturday, February 2, 2002 *** Long Beach State Pyramid
Afternoon Session (open seating)

8:30 am Westminster vs.       Glendora
10:00 am Costa Mesa vs.       Servite
11:30 am Brea  vs.       Valley Center
1:00 pm St. John Bosco vs.       Ocean View

  Evening Session ($10 & $20 Reserved)

3:00 pm Corona Centenial vs.       Sonora
4:30 pm Santa Margarita


      Green Valley
6:00 pm Villa Park vs.       Crenshaw
7:30 pm Long Beach Poly vs.       Vashon (St. Louis)
9:00 pm Mater Dei vs.       Oak Hill Academy
Santa Margarita--4-2, 23-4 (2nd) "Eagles"

We didn't have a complete roster for Santa Margarita when we first posted this preview, but assistant coach Jim Toomey sent us some good information, so we've updated the roster.   Here's the current list of players for 2001-02:

Travis Smith 6-3 Sr. G (10.8 ppg 4.4 rpg signed with USD)
Kyle Donahue 5-9 So. G
Tim Ahlring 6-8 So. F
Hayden Socci 6-2 Sr. G
Brandon Rohe 6'-3" Sr. G (11.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg signed with Santa Clara)
Tyler Smith 6'-2" So. G/F
Lenny Collins 6'-4" Sr. F/G (13.9 ppg, 5 rpg, Cornell commit)
Tyler Fessenden 6'-1" Sr. G
Brandon Matthews 6'-4" So F
Brad Campbell 6'-3" Jr. G
Travis Toch 6'-4" Sr. F
Dan Quijano 6'-3" Sr. G
Nate Hoppes 6'-3" Sr. G
Mike Vancho 6'-4" Sr. F

[Missing from the roster is Jake Collins, Lenny's younger brother who transferred to Mission Viejo]

Coach Toomey also sent us some other useful information:

Coaches: Jerry DeBusk, Pete Toomey, Jim Reames, Rusty Van Cleave, Craig DeBusk, Brian Carmer
Schedule Updates:
Nike Extravaganza - Feb. 2 - SM vs. Green Valley (Las Vegas) @4:30pm

Last Year: 24-5 overall, 4-2 Serra League (2nd), 3-1 Playoffs (Beat Tustin, Kennedy, and Elsinore. Semis - lost to Inglewood 47-37)

Anything Else:
Last 9 years under DeBusk: 222-45 (W-L)
6 league championships
4 time CIF semifinalists (93,95,99,01)
3 time CIF Champs (94,96,98)
'98 State Champs

Smith and Collins: All Serra League 1st team
Collins: All CIF

Update 11/27/01:  No offense, but the stuff we received directly from the school was better and more complete than what was in the Register today.   However, there were three photos in the print version of the paper, of Brandon Rohe, Lenny Collins and Travis Smith.


Santa Margarita
Coach: Jerry DeBusk

N-29/D-1 @ San Luis Obispo Tourn
D 04 Jordan
07 Wilson/LB
12 Los Alamitos
14 @ Pomona
18-22 @ Irvine Tourn
26-29 @ Torrey Pines
J 04 Woodbridge
05 @ Pioneer
09 @ *St John Bosco
11 @ *Mater Dei
18 *Servite
21 @ MLK Tourn
25 *Mater Dei
30 *St John Bosco
F 02 @ Nike Extravangza
06 @ *Servite

St. John Bosco--1-5, 17-8 (3rd) "Braves"

Eric Lane 5'-11" Jr. G
Derrick Williams 6'-0" Jr. G
Giovanni St. Amant 6'-2" Sr. G
Darren Morrison 6'-0" So. G
Kenny Taylor 6'-2" Jr. F
Robert Reynaga 5'-10" Jr. G
Sonny Kaesbauer 6'-1' So. F
Donald Quiroz 6'-1" Sr. G
Roy Alugbue 6'-3" Sr. G
Branden Rush 5'-11" Jr. G
Kevin Dyer 6'-2" Jr. F
Kevin Cape 6'-5" Sr. F
Mike Davis 6'-5" So. F

The 2001-2002 St. John Bosco Braves return seven varsity lettermen and four starters from a team that went 19-9 and reached the third round of CIF Southern Section Div1AA playoffs. Likely to start three seniors, this team will bring valuable experience to the court every time they play.

Senior wing and 3 year varsity starter Giovonni St. Amant is an explosive athlete, who can score a variety of ways. St. Amant, a two time first team All Serra league member has averaged near 20 points per game during his sophomore and junior seasons. Junior point guard Eric Lane is coming off a break through sophomore year and summer and recently was ranked in the Top Ten Point Guards on the west coast by Prep West Hoops. Senior guard Donald Quiroz broke his own school record last season by making seven three point shots in one game and will be poised to top that mark this year.

The Braves might look to be undersized in the post but 6-5 senior forward Kevin Cape is a talented athlete who has signed a letter of intent to play volleyball at nationally ranked Long Beach State. He will be backed up by 6-4 sophomore, Mike Davis and 6-5 junior Roy Alugbue, both talented underclassmen.

The Braves will run a motion style offense calling upon a repertoire of twenty different set plays. They will push the ball in transition intending to get easy baskets. Defensively, look for St. John Bosco to run primarily a man to man attacking defense mixing in zones occasionally.

Matt Hart and the St. John Bosco basketball team expect to contend for a Serra League and CIF Championship, which will be a significant task having to upend nationally recognized power Mater Dei program.

Update 11/27/01:  The OC Register published it's previews, and while they had some good info, they were not as complete as what we received earlier, so we're not going to repeat them here.


St John Bosco
Coach: Matt Hart

N 27 Cathedral
D 01 @ South Pasadena
04 @ Crossroads
06 Pioneer
11-15 @ Salesian Tourn
20-22 @ Portland, OR Tourn
26-29 @ Century Tourn
J 03 Downey
04 @ Arroyo
09 *Santa Margarita
11 @ *Servite
15 @ Westminster
18 *Mater Dei
25 *Servite
30 @ *Santa Margarita
F 02 @ Nike Extravanganza/CSULB
06 *Mater Dei

Servite--1-5, 9-17 (4th) "Friars"

Unfortunately, we know next to nothing  about this team and haven't seen any of the players since last spring when they played at the Pump Easter tournament, but here's who we would expect to see on the roster for 2001-02:

Franklin George  6'-3" G   Sr. G
James Craddick   5'-11" So.  G
Sean Ferguson   6'-4" Jr.  F
Bob Gunderson   6'-0" Sr. G
Aaron Hergenpeter 6'-4" Jr.  F
Erik Hilde   6'-0" Sr.  G
Don Dause 6'-4" Jr. F
Lionel Killens   5'-5" So G
Andrew Martin   5'-10" So. G
Brent McConaghy   5'-11" Jr.  G
Jason Millar   5'-11" Sr.  G
Brian Traska  6'-2" Jr G
Brian Yuijico  5'-4" Jr.

Servite has a website, but it has no sports information yet.  The schedule at right has them playing in three local tournaments, and while they'd like to make the playoffs this year, and we don't have a roster from last season, so we can't speculate about who might be coming back.  Servite will be playing in some good early season tournaments, not nearly as ambitious a schedule as the rest of the league, but the tournaments are competitive.

Coach: Brian Kenney

N-26/D-1 @ Loara Tourn
D 04 @ St Paul
07 Ocean View
10 Alta Loma
13 @ Crespi
18-26 @ Anaheim Conv. Cntr Tourn
@ Katella Tourn
J 02 @ El Toro
09 @ *Mater Dei
11 *St John Bosco
16 Orange Lutheran
19 @ *Santa Margarita
25 @ *St John Bosco
26 @ Bishop Amat
30 *Mater Dei
F 02 @
Nike Extravaganza
06 *Santa Margarita

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