The New Southern California Basketball

CIF-SS Small Enrollment Division Preview:
Santa Fe League 2001-02--(Nov. 10, 2001)

La Salle
St Genevieve

The Santa Fe League is an interesting league for a "small schools" (e.g., all Division IV) league, in that it features teams which seem to run the gamut from very competitive to seemingly non-competitive, teams which in the past have featured Division I college prospects dominating against players whose biggest ambitions have been to simply make the varsity squad.  Last year the talent base in the league showed a bit more parity than in prior seasons, and this year looks to be more of the same.  Cathedral won the league, followed by La Salle and Murphy and Bell Jeff (in that order).  Each of the teams finishing from 1-4 made the playoffs, but no one had great success.  Cathedral was eliminated in the second round of IV-AA, while Murphy lost in the first round of the same bracket.  La Salle didn't even make it that far, losing their wild-card game in the IV-AA bracket which preceded first round competition.  And Bell Jeff was unlucky enough to draw Gardena Serra in first round competition in the V-AA playoffs, losing that game and ending the Guards' season earlier than they would have liked.  Salesian and St. Gen's didn't make the playoffs, and we have no predictions for them this year either.

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.

Santa Fe League Rosters Santa Fe League Schedules
Bell-Jeff--4-6, 13-11 (4th) "Guards"

While Bell Jeff graduated 5 seniors from last year's roster, including their leading scorer, Casey Markovic, they still return some solid players including:

Tyler Kealey 5'-11" Sr. G
Hardeep Sidhu 5'-8" Sr. G
Mike Argento 6'-0" Sr. G
Romel Cabrera 5'-9" Sr. G
Tony Essa 6'-1" Sr. G
Chris Chavez 6'-3" Sr. F
Matt Natoranni 6'-3" Sr. F
Ryan Johnson 6'-7" Sr. C
Clarence Viray 5'-11" Jr. G
Brian Alfaro 6'-4" So. F
Galo Naranjo 5'-9" Sr. G

The above roster includes several newcomers, and in fact is the "official" team roster provided to us by Coach Eli Essa, who also provided us with his insights into this year's team:

"This team could be good, this team could be...not so good. Bell-Jeff is a senior laden team with 8 of the top 10 players, including 3 returning starters, returning from a 14-12 season. As frosh & JV's they won the Santa Fe League titles now it's time for them to step up & see what they can do as experienced seniors on the Varsity level. The backcourt is very strong and quick with Romel Cabrera (a 4 year Varsity starter) and All-Leaguer Tyler Kealey returning. Both play the 1 & 2, handle the ball extrtemely well, have good court vision and shoot with good range. The big summer surprises, which could make all the difference this season, were Ryan Johnson who has grown to 6'7 and improved his game tenfold. His defense, rebounding and shot blocking were always pretty good but he is scoring much more averaging over 17pts this past summer with 25 points in a win over Harvard Westlake. Also, Tony Essa 6'1 our be! st perimeter defender is now consistantly finding the net from mid-range on in and is a terrific rebounder for his size. Brian Alfaro, 6'4- 235lb Soph,could take pressure off Johnson inside. He's a good passer & shooter but not fleet of foot nor a very good jumper but a big body non the less, co-ordinated and understands his role. Other players which could step up are Clarence Viray, Jr. (JV-MVP), Mike Argento and Matt Natorianni. Perhaps the biggest question mark remains to be Chris Chavez, a gifted 6'3 power forward ,started nearly half of last years games, but quit the team after 2 summer league games and has recently asked to return to the team. It is questionable, at best, whether he will make up lost ground and stay focused but if he does he could be a force.. This year's potential success will be more a result of an overall "team" effort which is very pleasing to the staff as compared to the star quality showcasing of the past players such as Ruben Douglas (Arizona, New Mexico), Kent Dennis (West Virginia, LMU), Carlos Arroyo (Cal State Dominguez Hills) and Casey Markovic. Still the prevailing thought here is that Daniel Murphy and perhaps La Salle are the teams to beat in the competitive Santa Fe league.

Coaches: Eli Essa, Roger Normile, Russ Johnson, Bill Hank

Coach: Eli Essa

N 28 @ Ribet Academy
D 3-5 @ AGBU Tourn
08 Providence
11 Village Christian
14 Burbank
17-22 Bell-Jeff Tourn
26-29 @ Village Christian Tourn
J 04 @ *St Genevieve
09 @ *La Salle
11 *Cathedral
18 *Salesian
23 @ *Murphy
25 *St Genevieve
30 *La Salle
F 01 @ *Cathedral
04 @ *Salesian
06 *Murphy

Cathedral--9-1, 15-9 (1st)

With players last year like Ryan Ramos and
Earvin Johnson  6'-3" SG  (who has since graduated), Cathedral finished first in league, made it to the IV-AA playoffs, in which they were seeded as the No. 2 team in a 16-team bracket.  They easily handled their first round opponent Beaumont, winning by 14, but then came up against a young and very tough Northwood squad and lost by 10, and that was it for the season.  We will confess we don't have a clue who is on the roster for Cathedral this season, so if someone knows, send it in. Otherwise, we'll have to be content with the schedule at right for now....

Update as of 11/12/01:

We heard from Michael Godoy, an assistant coach at Cathedral, and he had this to say and a partial roster based on the comments:

Ralph Peneida 6'-3" Jr. F
Chris Flores 5'-8" Jr. PG
Fabian Corona 5'-7" Sr. SG
Mitchell Hernandez 6'-1" Sr. SG
Michael Feist 6'-2" Sr. F

"As for the roster for Cathedral, we lost 10 seniors to graduation, and return only two varsity lettermen. Junior Ralph Peneida (6'3'') F and junior Chris Flores (5'8'') PG. Our program has been very unpredictable for the last couple of years simply because the majority of our basketball players play football, who usually go very far in the playoffs. However, based on what we saw in the summer, we have a couple of players, who played JV last year that will contribute on varsity this year. Senior Fabian Corona (5'7'') SG is a deadly shooter that can make it rain three's. Also senior Mitchell Hernandez (6'1'') SG will make some noise off the bench. Junior Michael Feist (6'2'') F shows a nice touch around the top of the key while also providing a big body down low.  The core of the team will be the three juniors mentioned, Ralph Peneida, Chris Flores, and Mike Feist. While Ralph and Mike provide a couple of big bodies, the team will certainly not have a "Earvin Johnson" type player, who was the league MVP. Last year's success was truly a miracle that head coach Rolando Young whipped up, and it is gonna take another miracle this year to match last year's success. Although our basketball program is going through a rebuilding stage, do not turn your back on us, or else we will sneak up behind you and take league like we did last year."


Coach: Rolando Young

N 19  St Monica (Scrimmage)
N 27 @ St John Bosco
N-29/D-1 @ Providence Tourn
D 3-6   Milken Tournament
D 14 @ Cleveland
20 Workman
26-29 @ La Salle Tourn
J 03 @ St Paul
04 @ *Murphy
08 @ *Salesian (@ St. Matthias HS , Downey)
11 @ *Bell-Jeff
18 *St Genevieve
23 *La Salle
25 *Murphy
30 *Salesian
F 01 *Bell-Jeff
04 @ *St Genevieve
06 @ *La Salle

La Salle--7-3, 16-9 (3rd)  "Lancers"

La Salle is now a couple of years away from their strongest teams of the 90's, the ones that coach Goldstein had which dominated opponents with tremendous guard play, solid shooting and offensive and defensive speed, but the returning players for this year's team should form a very solid nucleus capable of duplicating some of that past success, and will again challenge for a league title.   They came up short last season to Cathedral and Murphy, but both of those teams will be rebuilding.

We recieved some information from the coaching staff at La Salle following our initial publication of the league preview, and since it's more complete, and more accurate than what we had, we'll just go with it.  The number after player height is a player's weight.  Here's the roster for 2001-02:

*Jeremiah DeLeon 6'0" 160 senior
*Anthony Napolitano 6'0" 165 senior
Adrian Garcia 5'8" 140 junior
Kevin Kohorst 5'11" 150 junior
Alex Basmadjian 5'10" 145 senior
Ryan Hill 6'2" 175 junior
*Andrew Mahlmann 6'3" 180 senior
Jimmy Bearse 6'1" 190 junior
Mark Kelley 6'7" 180 junior
*Pat Kennedy 6'1" 175 senior
Nate Kolbeck 6'4" 185 junior
John Lyman 6'1" 180 senior
*Andrew Taylor 6'5" 200 senior

*-returning varsity player

"We return five players(three starters) from last year's team and will be aided greatly from the others who come from a 19-1 JV team. Our team will be led by Napolitano, DeLeon, and Mahlmann who were starters on last year's team. Anthony Napolitano and Jeremiah DeLeon are both excellent  shooter/scorer wing types. Andrew Mahlmann will play forward and is our best athlete and best defender. Pat Kennedy will provide solid backcourt play and Andrew Taylor should be our top rebounder. Coach Goldstein is looking forward to coaching a much more defensive minded group this year."


La Salle
Coach: Steve Goldstein

N 27 Blair
N-29/D-1 @ Nordhoff Tourn
D 6-8 @ Poly Tourn
11 La Canada
14 @ Flintridge Prep
19 Arcadia
26-29 La Salle Tourn
J 04 @ *Salesian
09 *bell-Jeff
11 @ *St Genevieve
18 *Murphy
23 @ *Cathedral
25 *Salesian
30 @ *Bell-Jeff
F 01 *St Genevieve
04 @ *Murphy
07 *Cathedral

Murphy--8-2, 19-7 (2nd) "Nobles"

Returning players are expected to include:

Chuma Awaki  6'-3" So. G
Justin Turman  6'-3" Sr. G/F
Sirach Dix  6'-4" Jr. F
Phillip Perriot  5'-10" Jr. G
Brandon Hughes  5'-10" Jr. G

We haven't seen an official roster for this year's team, but they return some solid players, including Chuma who spent some time in the off-season playing with Rockfish and improved a lot.  Murphy has an ambitious tournament schedule, including the Powerade Las Vegas Holiday Prep Classic, where they'll be matched against other smallish team (e.g., LACES, etc) in the Copper Cup bracket.   They'll also see some larger-sized enrollment competition in the Beverly Hills tournament which kicks off their season and at the Hart Tournament at the end of December just prior to the start of league. 

Coach: Andrew Hunter

D 3-8 @ Beverly Hills Tourn
10 @ Bosco Tech
12 Belmont
16 @ St Monica
29-22 @ Las Vegas, NV Tourn
26-29 @ Hart Tourn
J 02 Serra
04 *Cathedral
09 @ *St Genevieve
11 *Salesian
18 @ *La Salle
23 *Bell-Jeff
25 @ *Cathedral
30 *St Genevieve
F 01 @ *Salesian

Salesian--2-8, 6-19 (5th)

Salesian didn't contend for a league title last season, and didn't make the playoffs.  We thus have no idea who will be on the team this year.  We do, however, have the official schedue, at right.

Coach: Brian Coleman

N 27 @ Warren
D 3-8 @ El Segundo Tourn
12-14 @ St John Bosco Tourn
20 @ Loma Linda Aca
26-29 @ St Anthony Tourn
J 04 *La Salle
08 *Cathedral
11 @ *Murphy
15 @ Oaks Christian
18 @ *Bell-Jeff
22 *St Genevieve
25 @ *La Salle
30 @ *Cathedral
F 01 *Murphy
04 *Bell-Jeff
06 @ *St Genevieve

St. Genevieve--0-10, 8-12 (6th)

Like Salesian, St. Genevieve didn't make the playoffs, and thus we have no idea who will be returning this season.  They didn't win a league game last year, so anything would be an improvement.  They'll be playiung other small schools in the early pre-season at the Providence Tournament and then at the Village Christian Tournament, so it looks like their schedule is appropriate.....otherwise they're going to really surprise some people.

St Genevieve
Coach: Jack Sunderlik

N-29/D-1 @ Providence Tourn
D 03 Marshall
06 @ Lutheran/LA
11 LA Baptist
13 @ West LA Baptist
19 Valley Torah
21 @ New Roads
26-29 @ Village Christian Tourn
J 04 *Bell-Jeff
09 *Murphy
11 *La Salle
18 @ *Cathedral
22 @ *Salesian
25 @ *Bell-Jeff
30 @ *Murphy
F 01 @ *La Salle
04 *Cathedral
06 *Salesian

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