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CIF-SS Large Enrollment Division Preview:
Suburban League 2001-02--(Nov.2, 2001)

SUBURBAN LEAGUE
Artesia
Bellflower
Cerritos
Glenn
La Mirada
Mayfair
Norwalk

The Suburban League has turned out a number of top college players and pros, from the O'Bannons, to Jason Kapono, to Josh Childress, and many, many others.  This season may not see the same numbers of D-I prospects in the league as in prior years, but there will still be more than a few. Artesia, under the leadership of Coach Scott Pera, managed to shake off the effects of the recruiting scandal that cost the Pioneers several CIF Section titles. Artesia's top players will be Ronald Allen and Ryan Meilleur, two 6'-8" forwards who will give Artesia the best frontcourt in the league.  Many believe that Mayfair won't be as talented as they were last season, but Dave Brieg's team doesn't lose much with returning players like top junior Justin Hawkins, senior Donte Bradford, Brian McFadden, Matt McCraw and Josh's "little" brother Chris.  Other teams that should make the playoffs out of league competition are Bellflower, and La Mirada. The rest (Glenn, Norwalk and Cerritos) are really a mystery.  But at least we have schedules.....

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 Suburban League as a whole.  It's not much different from our view (above), but it does provide a closer look at a few of the teams where we were lacking information.  Here's the Suburban League excerpt (which can also be found as a part of the story in the link above):

Last season, Mayfair finally broke through against Artesia to end the Pioneers' run on league titles. But this season, Artesia returns some beef in the frontcourt with 6-9 senior forward Ronald Allen and 6-8 senior forward Ryan Meilleur handling duties in the paint, while Jamel Gay (transfer from Poly) will be counted on to pick up the slack in the backcourt. Though the Monsoons lost their explosive backcourt of Edwin Draughan (Yale) and Josh Childress (Stanford), Mayfair may still be able to challenge the Pioneers for league supremacy. Junior forward Justin Hawkins is one of league's better athletes and he will be helped by the backcourt duo of junior Brian McFadden and senior Matt McCraw, both all-league selections last season. Though a bit undersized in comparison to the league's elite, Bellflower appears to have enough athleticism to harbor legitimate post-season hopes. The Buccaneers will count on 6-3 guard Michael Hubbard for leadership and outside shooting. La Mirada, led by returning point guard Charlie Torres, and Norwalk, which will be counting on last year's leading scorer, Zack Hall, should be improved. Cerritos, which will feature athletic sophomore guard Dawin Whiten, and Glenn probably do not have enough size or overall athleticism to challenge for postseason berths. 

Suburban League Rosters Suburban League Schedules
Mayfair--22-2, 12-0  (1st) "Monsoons"
Returning players will include:

Aaron King 6'-0" Sr. G
Matt McCraw 6'-1" Sr. G
Brian McFatdden 6'-0" Jr. G
Donte Bradford 6'-0" Sr. G
Justin Hawkins 6'-4" Jr. F
Brian Smith 6'-2" Jr. F
Derrick Driscoll 5'-6" So. G
Chris Childress 6'-5" Jr. C
Justin Wyndham 6'-5" Jr. C
Duane Wright  6'-3" So. G

Mayfair loses a lot with the absence of Edwin Draughn 6'-5" F (Yale) and Josh Childress 6'-6" (Stanford), but they should do fine.  They'll participate in the Ocean View Tournament of Champions early and at two other local tournaments (Estancia and Los Al's early December tourney).  We're not certain they can repeat as league champions, and we also wonder whether they have the depth to return to the CIF Section finals (they lost to Redondo in the II-A finals last season), but they will still be very competitive.

 

Mayfair
Coach: David Breig

D 4-8 @ Los Alamitos Tourn
10-15 @ Ocean View Tourn
26-29 @ Estancia Tourn
J 07 @ *Artesia
09 *Norwalk
14 @ *Cerritos
15 @ MLK Classic
16 @ *Glenn
18 @ *La MIrada
23 *Bellflower
25 *Artesia
26 @ Bishop Montgomery
30 @ *Norwalk
F 01 *Cerritos
04 *Glenn
06 *La Mirada
08 @ *Bellflower

Artesia--10-2, 22-7 (2nd)  "Pioneers"

Allen, Ronald   6'-9" Sr. F
Brown, Reggie   6'-4" Jr. F
Daniels, Kaelen   6'-6" Jr. F/C
Gay, Jamel   6'-1" Sr. G
Henderson, Terrence  5'-11" Sr. G
Hunter, Alex   5-9" Jr. G
Johnson, KeJuan  6'-2" Jr. G
LaBoy, Jose  5'-10" Sr. G
Meilleur, Ryan  6'-8" Sr. C
Ricks, John  5'-11" So. G
Taylor, Jibri  5'-10" Jr. G
Yip, Dustin  5'-7" Jr. G

Head Coach:Scott Pera
Assistant Coach:Sheldon McCorn
Assistant Coach:Chet Beatty
Assistant Coach:Loren Grover

Starters lost:
Tony Roberts 6’ 2”G13.6 ppg, 4.0rpg
Malcolm Herron6’ 4”F10.8 ppg, 7.5rpg
Ryan Reyes 6’ 1” G9.2 ppg, 5 apg, 40.3 3FG%

Returning Starters:
Ryan Meilleur 6’ 8” C SR.8.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.3 blk., 57.3 FG%
Ronald Allen 6’ 9”FSR.6.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg

Key Returning Players:
Kejuan Johnson6’ 2”GJR61 rebs., 52 assts., 25 stls., 73.1 FT%
Terrence Henderson5’ 11”GSR.53.3 FG%, 70.0 FT%
Kaelen Daniels6’ 6” C/FJR.61.5 FG%, 57 rebounds
Reggie Brown6’ 4”F/GJR.50.0 3FG%,
Jibri Taylor5’ 10”GJR.37.5 3FG%, 33 assists, 24 steals

Top Newcomer
Jamel Gay     6’ 1” GSR.Transfer from Long Beach Poly

Other Newcomers
Jose LaBoy5’ 10” GSR.Artesia JV
Dustin Yip5’ 7”GJR.Artesia JV
Alex Hunter5’ 9”GJR.Transfer from
John Ricks5’ 11”GSO.Did not play in 00-01

Most coaches would cringe at the idea of opening up a season having lost 61% of its offense, 83% of its 3FG shooting, 55% of its  rebounding, and 67% of its assists, not Artesia’s Scott Pera. In his second year at Artesia after coming west from Pennsylvania, Pera and his  staff are eagerly anticipating the upcoming 2001-2002 season. Last year Pera came in and amidst the cloud of controversy which was surrounding the storied Artesia program and cost it several CIF titles. Not only did the program have a winning season, finishing 22-6, but it also advanced deep in the CIF playoffs before eventually losing to John Muir of Pasadena in a closely contested contest. Pera’s disciplined, fundamental approach to basketball both reinvented and reinvigorated the program at Artesia and laid a solid  foundation for what Pera and his staff think will not onlybe another successful season, but one which will see them return to prominence  in the Southern Section, with their sights set on a trip to Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim in early March.Having 6 of their 7 defeats last year  come by a combined total of only 18 points, returning 4 players 6’ 4” and above including returning starters and All-League selections Ryan  Meilleur (6’ 8”)and Ronald Allen (6’ 9”), and having received a boost in the backcourt in Long Beach Poly transfer Jamel Gay, Pera’s optimism is well-founded. Once again Pera’s team will feature an aggressive, attacking man to man defense. Last year Artesia held its opponents toa mere 52 PPG on 35.O FG%, and held 15 opponents under 52 points. On offense the Pioneers will look inside to Meilleur and Allen, with key contributions coming from Gay, and G’sKeJuan Johnson(JR.) and Terrence Henderson (SR.) By the time Mid-February and CIF playoffs come rolling around, this should be a well tested group, as this year’s pre-season schedule will provide Artesia with plenty of top notch competition.Late November provides a “homecoming” trip for Pera, as he and the Pioneers will be returning to Pennsylvania to participate in the Lebanon(PA) HS Tip-Off tournament, in which the Pioneers will be competing with top teams from Pennsylvania and New York. Mid-December brings the Pioneers local debut, as they will be amongst the top local teams which will be participating in the Ocean View Tournament of Champions, which last year featured such outstanding programs as Compton Centennial, Morningside, Redondo Union, and Mater Dei and figures to return more top teams this year, including Suburban League rival Mayfair. After the Ocean View Tournament of Champions, it’s off to Las Vegas and the 2001 Powerade Holiday Prep Classic, and the Millennium Cup Division. This tournament, which is annually the nation’s largest and this year features 54of the nations top teams. Artesia will be competing in a bracket that includes local powers Carson and Fremont, along with Modesto Christian and Bishop Gorman.

The New Year will bring a January 3rd match up with Div. IV Montclair Prep at Artesia, followed by a Suburban League opening night battle with rival Mayfair which will be a key match-up in Artesia’s battle to reclaim the league title. The remainder of the schedule will feature usual conference opponents Bellflower, Norwalk, John Glenn, Cerritos, and La Mirada, with the only non-league game scheduled after the league opens being a match-up with a yet to be determined opponent at the McDonald’s Classic to be held at Pasadena City College on Saturday, January 19th.Last year’s Classic showcased amongst it teams Morningside, fellow Suburban league member school Bellflower, Monrovia, Pasadena Muir, and Chaminade along with Bishop Montgomery and current USC freshmen Errick and Derrick Craven, which also handed Artesia it’s worst loss of the season last year at the Double Pump MLK Hoop Challenge. This years Classic figures to have another strong field, and the Pioneers are looking to be one of the teams headlining it. Here is the complete schedule;

 

Artesia
Coach: Scott Pera

N-30/D-2 @ Lebanon, PA Tourn
D 10-15 @ Ocean View Tourn
20-22 @ Las Vegas, NV Tourn
J 3  Montclair Prep
J 4 or 7 @ *Glenn
11 *Mayfair
14 *La Mirada
16 @ *Norwalk
18 @ *Bellflower
19 @ McDonalds Invitational
23 *Cerritos
28 @ *La Mirada
30 @ *Mayfair
F 01 *Norwalk
04 *Bellflower
06 *Glenn
08 @ *Cerritos

Bellflower-- 7-5, 16-10 (3rd) "Buccaneers"

Returning players should include:

Ruben Castro 5'-9" Sr. G
Denvan Emanuel 5'-10" So. G
Michael Hubbard 6'-3" Sr. G
Delanta Lewis 6'-3" Sr. F
Juan Mendez 6'-0" Sr. G
Kevin Pledger 6'-2' So. G
Kendrick Sanders 6'-3 Sr. F
Josh Newton 6'-0" So. G

Some good athletes, but whether they have the size or depth to contend for a league title is open to question.  They return a lot of young players from last season, and look to improve a better than decent showing from last season.  Strictly local tournaments, but with mostly CIF D-I and II teams competing.

 

Bellflower
Coach: Chris Jones

N 28 @ California
D 4-8 @ Los Alamitos Tourn
10-15 @ Troy Tourn
20 Downey
26-29 @ Brea Olinda Tourn
J 07 @ *Glenn
09 *Cerritos
11 @ *Artesia
16 *La Mirada
18 @ *Norwalk
23 @ *Mayfair
25 *Glenn
28 *Artesia
30 @ *Cerritos
F 04 @ *La Mirada
06 *Norwalk
08 *Mayfair

La Mirada--4-8, 10-19 (4th) "Matadores"

Returning players should include:

Michael Duarte 6'-1" Sr. G
Bryce Jones 5'-10" Sr. G
Lance Lee 5'-11" Sr. G
Martin McQueen 6'-4" Sr. F
Josh Najera 5'-8" Sr. G
Michael Oronoz 6'-2" Sr. F
Charlie Torres 5'-8" Sr. G

La Mirada just barely squeaked into the playoffs last season, and graduated 5 seniors from last season.  Again, mostly local tournaments on the schedule and then a full league season willl really test this squad which doesn't have any marquee players, but a lot of kids who just work hard and want to win.

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 Mirada:

Last season: 10-19, 4-8, fourth; Div.I-A playoffs: lost to St. John Bosco, 77-61, first round.

Returning starters:
Point guard Charlie Torres (Sr., 5-8, 135)
Forward Michael Oronoz (Sr., 6-2, 200)
Guard Michael Duarte (Sr., 6-2, 140)
Guard Lance Lee (Sr., 6-0, 160)
Forward Martin McQueen (Sr., 6-3, 185)

Other key returner:
Guard Josh Najera (Sr., 5-8, 135)

Key newcomer:
Forward Ryan Montegomery (So., 6-2, 150).

"Coach Jason Pietsch calls Torres, who averaged 12 points and five assists last season 'as good a point guard as there is around. He does things with a basketball 17-year-olds just don't do.' Pietsch lists rebounding as an area of concern but expects help from Montegomery, up from the freshman team, which he led in scoring and was second in rebounds. 'I would like to be able to win the close ones this year,' Pietsch said. 'Last year, we had trouble finishing. In the last four minutes, we seemed to get excited and lose our poise.' "

 

La Mirada
Coach: Jason Pietsch

D 3-8 @ Fullerton Tourn
10-15 @ No Orange Co Tourn
21 Magnolia
26-29 @ Orange Tourn
J 04 Cypress
07 @ *Cerritos
09 *Artesia
11 @ *Norwalk
14 *Glenn
16 @ *Bellflower
18 *Mayfair
25 *Cerritos
28 *Norwalk
30 @ *Artesia
F 01 @ *Glenn
04 *Bellflower
06 @ *Mayfair

Norwalk--3-9, 6-18 (5th tie)

Norwalk didn't make the playoffs last season, and hence we don't have a roster. We believe Zachary Hall 6'-3" Sr. SG should be on the team, but actually can't confirm that.

The schedule is at right------>

Norwalk
Coach: Jim Dion

N 28 @ Paramount
D 3-8 @ Valley Chr/C Tourn
12 @ Kennedy
26-29 @ Don Bambauer Tourn
J 09 @ *Mayfair
11 *La Mirada
14 *Artesia
16 @ *Cerritos
18 *Bellflower
23 *Glenn
28 @ *La Mirada
30 *Mayfair
F 01 @ *Artesia
04 *Cerritos
06 @ *Bellflower
08 @ *Glenn

Glenn-- 3-9, 8-17 (5th tie)  "Eagles"

Glenn also didn't make the playoffs;  we did get a media information sheet though at the end of last season and it looks like the Eagles will only return three players from last season:

Israel Garcia 6'-2" Sr. F
Shane Martin 6'-2" Jr. G
Mark Halog 5'-0" Jr. G

We don't know enough about this team to say anything useful. If someone has a roster, send it in.

Glenn
Coach: Bill Seals

N 29 @ Mark Keppel
D 3-7 @ El Rancho Tourn
07 @ Sunny Hills
18 Loara
26-29 @ Cantwell Scrd Hrt Tourn
J 07 *Bellflower
11 @ *Cerritos
14 @ *La Mirada
16 *Mayfair
18 *Artesia
23 @ *Norwalk
25 @ *Bellflower
28 @ *Cerritos
F 01 *La Mirada
04 @ *Mayfair
06 @ *Artesia
08 *Norwalk

Cerritos--3-9, 7-19 (5th tie)

Speaking about not knowing anything....we don't know who is playing on Cerritos this year either. But we know the schedule.

Cerritos
Coach: Desborough/Watanabe

N-27/D-1 Cerritos-Gahr Tourn
D 07 Gahr
11-15 @ Alhambra Tourn
21 @ Warren
26-29 @ San Gabriel Tourn
J 07 *La Mirada
09 @ *Bellflower
11 *Glenn
14 *Mayfair
16 *Norwalk
23 @ *Artesia
25 @ *La Mirada
28 @ *Glenn
30 *Bellflower
F 01 @ *Mayfair
04 @ *Norwalk
08 *Artesia

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