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Fryer: Time to consider splitting private, public

OCVARSITY.COM

Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:

•The basketball team that gets the worst deal in the CIF-Southern Section's method of creating playoff divisions is the Laguna Beach boys team. The Breakers are where they belong, in Division 4AA, enrollment-wise. Because of the enrollment ceiling that keeps even season-after-season big winners from going above 4AA, Laguna Beach is stuck in 4AA with private-school basketball powers like Bishop Montgomery of Torrance, Serra of Gardena, La Verne Lutheran, Windward of Los Angeles, Price of Los Angeles, Crespi of Encino and JSerra.

•Laguna Beach is ranked No. 10 in 4AA. The nine teams ranked above Laguna Beach are private schools.

•This all shows again that it is time for a CIF-SS member league or school to produce a proposal that would at least create discussion about placing public and private schools in separate playoff divisions. Maybe such a separation would not work. Still, it should be discussed, and instead of continuing to complain about the private-school athletic advantages, real or not, the public schools should try to do something about it.

•Here is the breakdown for how many teams in boys and girls basketball leagues get guaranteed berths for the CIF-Southern Section playoffs: the top two finishers in four-team leagues; the top three finishers in five- and six-team leagues; the top four finishers in seven- and eight-team leagues; and the top five finishers in nine-team leagues.

•Playoffs brackets, seedings and first-round pairings for girls and boys basketball and girls water polo will be released Sunday by the CIF-SS office and will be available upon release at ocvarsity.com. The CIF-SS office releases playoff brackets, seedings and first-round pairings for boys and girls soccer on Monday, and that information will be at ocvarsity.com upon release, too.

•Wrestling team dual pairings were released Thursday with those events scheduled for Saturday at several different locations across the region. The brackets are available at ocvarsity.com. Individual wrestling championships begin next Friday and continue Feb. 16. Then comes the CIF-SS Masters Meet, the state qualifying meet, Feb. 22 and 23. The state meet is March 1 and 2 in Bakersfield.

•Nobody in the media business goes to more high school games than versatile broadcaster Paul Westphal. Westphal has provided informed play-by-play of various sports for Fox Sports, Time Warner Cable, Cox3 and others over the years, and the former USC and NBA standout and NBA coach can handle the analysis work just as well as he proved working alongside Pete Arbogast and Ross Porter during Internet coverage of last week's Nike Extravaganza games. Westphal always has a seat on every media panel that votes in the Register's top 10 polls.

•Here is a football game to look forward to: Mission Viejo vs. La Habra at Cerritos College, Sept. 20. Mission Viejo was South Coast League champion again in 2012 when the Diablos finished 11-1 and lost to eventual champion Long Beach Poly in the second round of the Pac-5 Division playoffs. La Habra was Freeway League champion again and was 8-4 overall, not the greatest season by the Highlanders' high standards but they should be better next year.

•Two reasons the Highlanders should be improved are the additions of transfers Darrell Cloy and Toa Lobendahn. Both juniors already are receiving plenty of collegiate recruiting attention.

•Cloy is a 6-foot-3, 215-pound receiver who enrolled this month at La Habra after transferring from St. Paul of Santa Fe Springs. Rivals.com reports that Cloy has a scholarship offer from Colorado and had been a standout at combines last spring. He can play tight end, defensive end or linebacker, too.

•Lobendahn is a 6-5, 285-pound offensive lineman who played at Lakewood this past fall. He has committed to USC. A La Habra returnee will be lineman Greg Gaines, a lineman who was Freeway League player of the year in 2012.

•Tustin's new football coach, Greg Gano, is likely to replace the Tillers' double-wing offense with a scheme that involves far more passing than the four or five throws that happened in most Tillers games during Myron Miller's 18 successful seasons coaching Tustin. "We're going to throw the ball some like my teams have done in the past," said Gano who coached the past few years at Damien of La Verne after coaching Los Altos of Hacienda Heights to CIF championships. "I always use bits and pieces of what I've learned from people I've talked to and people I've coached with."

•Mater Dei's undefeated girls basketball team remains No. 1 in calhisports.com's California rankings and USA Today's national rankings. Other county girls teams in the state top 20: Troy, at No. 8; and JSerra, at No. 18.

•Mater Dei and Troy are 1-2, respectively, in CIF-SS Division 1AA girls basketball rankings. Orange Lutheran is No. 1 in the girls basketball 2A division.

•Mater Dei's boys basketball team is No. 1, one position ahead of Long Beach Poly in the CIF-SS Division 1AA poll, but the Monarchs are No. 2 and behind Poly in the state top 20. Mission Viejo, No. 18 in the state rankings last week, dropped out of the California top 20 after losing by two points to Colony of Ontario in the Nike Extravaganza. Mission's best player, Evan Zeller, did not play against Colony because of an ankle injury and returned to play in the Diablos' nonleague victory over Trabuco Hills on Tuesday.

•Hart of Newhall is No. 18 in the state rankings, but is No. 2 in CIF-SS Division 3AAA behind Tustin, which is not in the state top 20. As we like to say, rankings start more arguments than they solve.


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