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SoCalHoops High School Previews

SD-CIF: Southern Conference
Imperial Valley 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 Imperial Valley League never got much respect in the CIF-Southern Section, so a few years ago, the entire league left, and joined up with the San Diego CIF Seciton, which made a lot more sense, considering that many of the teams i the Southern-most reaches of Riverside County are a lot closer to San Diego schools than anywhere else.  Since the league switched allegiances, we haven't heard much about the teams or the players here, but the San Diego Coaches Association has a lot of good info, including some of their pre-season picks for League MVP (Lafayette Lofton of Brawley Union), and the rest of the All-Imperial Valley pre-season All-League picks, including Robert Christensen (Central Union), Carlos Corral (Brawley Union), Bradley Goff (Southwest) and Chris Ramsey (Calexico).  We don't think this will be the most competitive league, but Division III teams in the rest of San Diego should watch out for Brawley again, last year's D-III semifinalist. What follows are previews and predictions from the Coaches' Assn. (no, these picks are not ours), for the Imperial Valley League of the Southern Conference.  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) Brawley Union (Division 3, Brawley)

Head Coach: Phil Grant (14th Year)
Last year’s record: 18 – 6 (6 – 0, 1st)
Last year’s playoffs: Lost in semi-finals.

Key players: Lafayette Lofton (Sr, 6’05"), Carlos Corral (Sr, 6’01"), James Haley (So, 6’00")
Losses to overcome: Mark Rivera (graduation), Miguel Melendrez (graduation), Jack Motter (graduation)
Summary: Lofton is a big force in the middle and will once again be difficult to stop. If the Wildcats can find a solid replacement for the departed, Rivera, then it will be their crown to take.

2) Southwest (Division 3, El Centro)

Head Coach: Marty Zwart (4th Year)
Last year’s record: 9 – 16 (3 – 3, 2nd)
Last year’s playoffs: Lost in 1st round.

Key players: Bradley Goff (Sr, 6’00"), Bryan Martinez (Sr, 6’02"), Chris Lara (Jr, 6’01"), Nate Smith (Sr, 5’07"), Jesse Hoyt (Jr, 6’02"), Devon Hood (Sr, 6’02")
Losses to overcome: None
Summary: While the Eagles only suited up 6 players last year, all 6 return for an improved unit. Goff can stroke it from the outside as his 15 3’s in one game can attest. Should battle Brawley to the finish.

3) Central Union (Division 3, El Centro)

Head Coach: Von Gaines (1st Year)
Last year’s record: 3 – 23 (1 – 5, 4th)
Last year’s playoffs: None

Key players: Robert Christensen (Jr, 6’02"), Luis Robles (Sr, 5’08"), Dustin Loop (Sr, 6’03")
Losses to overcome: Vincent McSee (graduation), Jerrel Henderson (graduation), Javier Guerrero (graduation)
Summary: The Spartans should be improved over a year ago with Gaines on the sidelines, and Christensen leading the way. However, it will be a difficult task to sneak into the title race.

4) Calexico (Division 1, Calexico)

Head Coach: Ernesto Valenzuela (2nd Year)
Last year’s record: 8 – 11 (2 – 4, 3rd)
Last year’s playoffs: None

Key players: Chris Ramsey (Sr, 6’03")
Losses to overcome: Adrian Maldonado (graduation)

Summary: Ramsey is a solid post player, but the Bulldogs lack depth overall. If some perimeter players emerge, Calexico may catch some teams sleeping.

Pre-Season Player of the Year:
Lafayette Lofton (Brawley Union)

Pre-Season All-Imperial Valley League:
Robert Christensen (Central Union)
Carlos Corral (Brawley Union)
Bradley Goff (Southwest)
Lafayette Lofton (Brawley Union)
Chris Ramsey (Calexico)

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