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SoCalHoops High School Previews

SD-CIF: Coastal Conference
North 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 Coastal Conference has been through a reorganization in the past few years.  Now it's divided into a North League and South League, rather than just one big conference.  And among the teams in this, the North League, you'll find some of the more competitive teams in the State, including Santa Fe Christian and Tri-City, two of the stronger D-V teams who could make a run again this year.  What follows are capsule previews and predictions from the Coaches' Assn. (no, these picks are not ours), for the North League of the Coastal Conference, including some pre-season picks for MVP and All-League players.   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) Santa Fe Christian (Division 5, Solana Beach)

Head Coach: Randy Wright (3rd Year)
Last year’s record: 22 – 10 (7 – 1, 1st)
Last year’s playoffs: Lost in CIF Championship, lost in state 1st round.
Key players: Nick Corso (Jr, 5’10"), Ryan Cornett (Jr, 6’06"), Ryan Alexander (Jr, 5’11")
Losses to overcome: Chase McBride (graduation), Blake Baldwin (graduation), Tim Curtis (graduation)
Summary: Corso is the leading return scorer in the county, and along with Alexander, forms a solid nucleus for the Eagles. The rest of the line-up will be supplemented by youth and should make for an interesting battle for league supremacy with Tri-City Christian.

2) Tri-City Christian (Division 5, Vista)

Head Coach: Tim Shelton (7th Year)
Last year’s record: 20 – 7 (6 – 2, 2nd)
Last year’s playoffs: Lost in quarterfinals.
Key players: Brian Kraatz (Sr, 6’04"), Marcus Harkness (Sr, 6’01")
Losses to overcome: Craig Sanetrick (graduation)
Harkness and Kraatz form an athletic duo that will give teams trouble all year, and will help the Eagles make a strong run at the league crown as well as the Division 5 title.

3) San Dieguito Academy (Division 3, Encinitas)

Head Coach: Gene Victor (1st Year)
Last year’s record: 6 – 16 (2 – 6, 4th)
Last year’s playoffs: None
Key players: Kellen Polan (Sr, 6’05"), Joel Connors (Jr, 6’00"), Tyler Shimkus (Jr, 6’02")
Losses to overcome: None
Summary: The Mustangs have made some progress in the last couple of years, but still lack the overall talent and depth to compete for the league title. New coach, Victor, comes with a wealth of collegiate experience.

4) Calvin Christian (Division 5, Escondido)

Head Coach: Kevin Veenstra (2nd Year)
Last year’s record: 11 – 15 (5 – 3, 3rd)
Last year’s playoffs: Lost in 1st round.
Key players: James Baker (Sr, 6’05"), Matt Baker (Sr, 6’02"), Thomas Donovan (Jr, 6’00")
Losses to overcome: Kevin Prins (graduation), Tom Roberts (graduation)
Summary: Loss of Prins will hurt for a team already lacking depth overall. James Baker is a solid player inside, but it will be difficult for the Crusaders to knock off the top league teams.

5) Army-Navy Academy (Division 4, Carlsbad)

Head Coach: Bobby Huggins (6th Year)
Last year’s record: 1 – 17 (0 – 8, 5th)
Last year’s playoffs: None
Key players: Jose Cota (Sr, 6’03"), S.Y. Park (Jr, 6’03")
Losses to overcome: None
Summary: Entire squad returns from a disappointing campaign of a year ago. Solid all-around player, Cota will lead the improved Warriors from the point guard position. This experienced group could sneak up on some teams.

Pre-Season Player of the Year:
Nick Corso (Santa Fe Christian)

Pre-Season All-Coastal North League:
James Baker (Calvin Christian)
Nick Corso (Santa Fe Christian)
Jose Cota (Army-Navy)
Marcus Harkness (Tri-City Christian)
Brian Kraatz (Tri-City Christian)

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