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SoCalHoops High School News

High School Team Preview:
Mary Star Of The Sea Stars--(Nov. 26, 2000)

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Mary Star of the Sea Stars
Division IV-A
City: San Pedro, CA
Head Coach: Andrew Furuto
99-00 Record: League 3-7,
9-16 Overall
Lost 1st Round Playoffs
To Crossroads (83-47)

1999-2000 Camino Real League
Final Standings

Team League Overall
Verbum Dei 10-0 15-11
St. Anthony 7-3 16-8
St. Monica 6-4 18-8
Don Bosco Tech 3-7 6-18
Mary Star 3-7 9-16
Cantwell Sacred Heart 0-10 1-23

Division IV-A is one of those CIF Southern Section divisions which is pretty small, but which consistently has at least two or three, sometimes more, truly competitive squads, teams which are good enough to compete anywhere, any time,   and against anyone.  Mary Star, in all candor, hasn't been one of those teams, at least not in recent memory.  But they get the pleasure of having to compete against some of those truly competitive teams year, after year, after year, and they keep coming back for more.

How small is Division IV, in terms of the overall numbers of teams in it?  Well if you had three people in a room, had them count all the schools using by using all of their fingers and toes (using each only once) you'd stilll have 4 digits unused. . . just 26 teams in the bracket, compared to, say Division I-AA and I-A which each had 75 last season, and even after splitting them up to allow a third D-I division, there will still be more than twice as many in each such division.    Ok, so it's small.  But how competitive is it, really?  Crossroads competitive enough for you?  How about Verbum Dei, a team in Mary Star's league. Last year, in a "down" season for Verbum Dei,  following the graduation of their two star players Marlon Parmer (New Mexico) and Dalron Johnson (UNLV), and following the resignation of their coach David Greenwood who along with Dalron and Marlon, took Verb to two back-to-back State D-IV titles,  Verb still managed to go 10-0 in league (playing "up" in D-IIIAA, due to increased enrollment, Verb lost in the second round of the playoffs last year to Sherman Oaks Notre Dame).   Want more competitive?   What about teams like St. Monica,  Maranatha,  Diamond Ranch, and even last year's Milken team, which almost pulled off the upset of the decade, losing by just one point (63-62) to Crossroads in one of the best semifinals of the year.  Schools in the division range in size from a minimum enrollment of 300 up through and including schools with enrollments of 488 (actually it's 500, but the largest was actually 488), so we're not talking large enrollments, but that doesn't mean that this division doesn't have it's share of competitive teams and players. (For a complete list of the teams in -IVA, here's a link)

2000-2001 Mary Star
Partial Roster

Jack Kalmeta   6'-2" Sr. SG
Adrian Navarro   6'-2" Sr. G
Chris Cosgrove   6'-0" Jr. PG
Duje Tomic   6'-2" Jr. G
Andrew Vidovich   5'-11" Jr. G
Sam Mannino   5'-10" Jr G
Jonathan Phillips   6'-0" Fr. G
Cedric Noldon   6'-3" Fr. F
Nick Ferara 6-4" Sr. F

2000-2001 Mary Star
Partial Roster

Date Opponent
Nov. 29 Salesian
Dec. 2 @Flintridge Prep
Dec. 4-9 @El Segundo Tournament
Dec 13 South Bay Lutheran
Dec. 15 Westwood
Dec. 18-22 @Calvary Chapel Downey Tourn.
Jan 5 *Don Bosco
Jan 10 @*St. Anthony
Jan 12 @*St. Monica
Jan 19 *Verbum Dei
Jan 24 *Cantwell Sacred Heart
Jan 26 @*Don Bosco
Jan 31 *St. Anthony
Feb 2 *St. Monica
Feb 5 @*Verbum Dei
Feb 7 @*Cantwell Sacred Heart

Mary Star finds itself smack in the middle of this group of 26 teams, and they're probably best described as somewhere between being on the verge of a   breakthrough season and repeating as the ever-perennial doormat of the Camino Real League.  Last season, but for Cantwell Sacred Heart, which didn't win a game, Mary Star would have been the doormat, finishing 3-7.   Oh, and about the Camino Real League, did we mention that first place Verbum Dei was last season's defending (albeit depleted) State Division IV champ?  And how about the fact that last season's surprise Division V-AA Southern Section Champions, St. Anthony didn't even win it's own league.  That's a tough league.  

So it was probably with some trepidation that Mary Star announced in June that they would be getting a new coach.  Andrew Furuto takes over as the new boys' head coach, replacing George Pisano.  Furuto had been an assistant at Chadwick under Tom Maier and then moved over to Mira Costa, when Maier left Chadwick (Maier himself is currently an assistant for Jim Neilsen at Redondo Union.    About a month ago, we got an e-mail from Coach Furuto  and since we're doing previews, now is probably a good a time to share what he had to say about his new team:  

"Having been appointed in June, I have had very little opportunity to see all of our players as several players are currently engaged in football since we are a small Catholic school in Division IV  playing in the always tough and competitive Camino Real League. In looking  over our roster, most of the starters graduated last year, and with only 4 returning varsity players, we will be inexperienced and young, but exciting  nonetheless.

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"I am privileged to have Dick Gross as my assistant coach, a Fermin Lasuen  graduate with many ties to the San Pedro community.   His brother Bobby led the Portland Trailblazers to the NBA title in 1977.  My coaching resume includes stops at Lennox High,  Lakewood High with Willard Foerster,   Culver  City High,  Chadwick School with Tom Maier, and most recently at Mira Costa High School as an assistant with Glenn Marx.  With over 15 years experience, I  am excited about the opportunity to build a program at Mary Star.

"We will feature senior guard Jack Kalmeta, 6'2", a scoring threat from the 3 line as well as a good penetrator, senior guard Adrian Navarro, 6'2", a slasher with a good medium range shot, senior center Nick Ferara, 6'4" who could provide much needed inside play, and junior point guard Chris Cosgrove, 6'0", who is our quarterback in football currently. Up from the JV squad is Duje Tomic, 6'2" who is a good defender and rebounds well, Andrew Vidovich, 5'11", and Sam Mannino, 5'10", who can provide much needed relief off the bench and some untested freshmen who are extremely athletic and may get the call to step up more sooner than later...Jonathan Phillips, 6''0" and Cedric Noldon, 6'3". With football still in action, our varsity roster is subject to change and is not finalized as of yet, so stay tuned.

"We play a competitive schedule that finds us in the El Segundo tournament,  the Downey Calvary Chapel tournament, and the Estancia tournament. We will  play non league contests against Salesian, Flintridge Prep, South Bay Lutheran, and Westwood [this is Phil Bryant's High School team from Westwood, in Northern California] prior to Camino Real League play. All I can assure you is that the Stars will play hard, play  smart, and play together and we may surprise a few people along the way."

 The Swish Award
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