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SoCalHoops High School Previews

SD-CIF: Southern Conference
Citrus East League Preview--(Nov. 27, 2002)

The San Diego Coaches Association has been really good to us this year.  In the past, getting information out of San Diego has been like pulling teeth, but this year, we've gotten a slew of league and team capsule preview from our friends down south. 

The Citrus East League of the Southern Conference consists of mostly small schools, many of which would be in V-AA were they in the Southern Section, and one D-IV team, Mountain Empire which somehow snuck into the mix.  Julian is tabbed by most as the pre-season favorite, and not surprisingly, their best player is also picked as the pre-season League MVP by the Coaches' Association.  What follows are previews and predictions from the Coaches' Assn. (no, these picks are not ours), for the Citrus East League.  Teams are listed in the order of finish; again these are the Coaches' Association's picks, so if you don't like them, blame them, not us. 

1) Julian (Division 5, Julian)

Head Coach: Craig Peirson (9th Year)
Last year’s record: 15 – 12 (7 – 1, tied for 1st)
Last year’s playoffs: Lost in semi-finals.

Key players: Brad Daugherty (Jr, 6’02"), Chris Paddock (Sr, 6’06"), Brent Daugherty (Jr, 6’03")
Losses to overcome: Evan Fisher (graduation)
Summary: Julian returns all the key components to defend their league title, led by Brad Daugherty’s inside-outside game. The inside combo of Paddock and Brent Daugherty helps make the Eagles the league favorites once again.

2) Mountain Empire (Division 4, Pine Valley)

Head Coach: John Lelevier (4th Year)
Last year’s record: 12 – 11 (5 – 3, tied for 2nd in Citrus West)
Last year’s playoffs: Lost in 1st round.

Key players: David Laff (Sr, 5’06"), Mohirah Hall (Sr, 6’00")
Losses to overcome: Mal Hall (graduation), Andrew Tucker (graduation)
Summary: The Red Hawks are looking for Mo Hall to come back strong from an injury-plagued season. Hall and Laff who can fill it from the outside, gives Mountain Empire some experience. If some of their younger players step up, the Red Hawks could challenge Julian for the league title.

3) Vincent Memorial (Division 5, Calexico)

Head Coach: Jesus Gonzalez (1st Year)
Last year’s record: 9 – 14 (4 – 4, 3rd)
Last year’s playoffs: Lost in quarterfinals.

Key players: Miguel Padilla (Sr, 5’10"), Fernando Meza (Sr, 6’01")
Losses to overcome: Dominic Jacobelli (graduation), Matt Lankford (graduation), Josh Martin (graduation)
Summary: Gonzalez takes over the reins completely, but graduation losses including last year’s top player, Jacobelli, will be hard to overcome. Return of solid point guard, Padilla from the east coast should help.

4) Borrego Springs (Division 5, Borrego Springs)

Head Coach: Joe Watt (1st Year)
Last year’s record: 21 – 7 (7 – 1, tied for 1st)
Last year’s playoffs: Lost in quarterfinals.

Key players: Jonathan Aguilar (Sr, 5’11"), Jared Rosenthal (Jr, 6’06")
Losses to overcome: Erin O’Brien (graduation), Sean Fogarty (graduation), Leo Arellano (graduation)
Summary: The loss of 4 starters including high scoring, O’Brien will be tough to overcome. The Rams are hoping that the experience and skills of Aguilar and Rosenthal will ease the pain of those graduation losses.

5) West Shores (Division 5, Salton City)

Head Coach: Jason Holmgren (1st Year)
Last year’s record: 4 – 15 (2 – 6, 4th)
Last year’s playoffs: Lost in 1st round.

Key players: Jeremy Stewart (Sr, 6’00"), Andy Johnson (Sr, 6’02"), Jose Bernal (So, 5’08")
Losses to overcome: Howard Walker (transferred to Twenty-nine Palms)
Summary: Loss of Walker is a tough blow, but the Wildcats should be improved overall. Stewart leads a young group that will be solid on the perimeter, but probably a big man away from competing for the league title.

6) Warner Springs (Division 5, Warner Springs)

Head Coach: To Be Determined
Last year’s record: 5 – 16 (0 – 8, 5th)
Last year’s playoffs: None

Key players: Austin Diaz (Jr, 6’00")
Losses to overcome: Chris Ziandorff (graduation), Ernie McCleese (graduation)
Summary: A difficult season has turned into a difficult off-season as the Wildcats still, as of this writing, have not found a coach to take the reins.

Pre-Season Player of the Year:
Brad Daugherty (Julian)

Pre-Season All-Citrus East League:
Jonathan Aguilar (Borrego Springs)
Brad Daugherty (Julian)
Mohirah Hall (Mountain Empire)
Chris Paddock (Julian)
Miguel Padilla (Vincent Memorial)

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