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Fryer: Releaguing shuffle might be minimal
Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:
•It's releaguing season. County schools had their meeting Wednesday to configure leagues for a four-year period that begins with the 2014-15 school year. Western wants out of the Empire League and the Pacific Coast League would like Corona del Mar to be affiliated elsewhere, but other than that everybody else seems OK with current league structures.
•The Orange League seems reluctant to allow Western to return to its group, and Corona del Mar is not a great geographical fit with south county schools, and it might not be a good match in the Sunset League with that league's football teams. Football is the tail that wags the releaguing dog.
•Something that could develop in upcoming releaguing meetings is the formation of a north county conference, much like the 10-school Coast View Conference in south county that divides its 10 schools into either the Sea View or South Coast league. Initial proposals for league configurations will be presented at a meeting March 20.
•Tesoro this week is interviewing candidates for a varsity football head coach to replace Brian Barnes, who was officially removed from the position last month. (Barnes remains at Tesoro as a teacher.) Tesoro principal Dan Burch said Thursday is a target date for the announcement of the next coach.
•A list of the CIF playoff games and championship games in which a Corona del Mar team played a Newport Harbor team would consume all of the disk space on any computer. Here they go again – Corona del Mar vs. Newport Harbor in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 girls water polo final, Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at the Woollett Aquatics Center in Irvine.
•Of the 14 teams in the CIF-SS girls water polo championship games Saturday at Woollett, eight of them are county teams. Ocean View plays Hemet in the Division 7 game at 9:20 a.m., Pacifica plays Yorba Linda in the Division 6 game at 10:30 a.m., Troy plays La Serna of Whittier in the Division 4 game at 1:30 p.m., it's an all-Trinity League final when Mater Dei plays Santa Margarita in the Division 2 game at 2:30 p.m.; and the Newport Harbor-Corona del Mar Division 1 final concludes the championships.
•The CIF-SS girls water polo championships are divided into three sessions to accommodate the anticipated large crowds. Session 1 has the division 7, 6 and 3 finals; session 2 has divisions 4 and 2; and session 3 has divisions 5 and 1. Separate admission for each session: $8 for adults, $5 for high school students with student identification and for children 13 and younger. Tickets can be purchased by cash only.
•The CIF State Girls Wrestling Invitational Championships are today and Saturday at Lemoore High. West Covina won the team championship for the second consecutive time last year.
•"The Asylum," the self-given name of Servite's rambunctious student cheering section, got a little too crazy at Brea Olinda High's gym for the Servite-Brea basketball 3AAA quarterfinal playoff game Tuesday. The guys' jumping-up-and-down stuff broke some bleacher seating and supporting framework. Servite offered to pay for repairs.
•Canyon ace 3-point shooter JoJo Ballestero was part of a Facebook vote-in competition for top 3-point shooter in the nation. Voting began Feb. 6, and Ballestero this week was still in the running to become one of 32 high school players who will participate in a nationally-televised dunking and shooting contest April 6. Ballestero's 317 career high-school 3 pointers is third-most in county history, behind the 409 of Marina's Brendan Holmes (2006-10) and the 270 of Mater Dei's Taylor King (2004-07).
•Former Newport Harbor and Santa Margarita boys basketball coach Jerry DeBusk has been named to the Southern California Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame. DeBusk coached Newport Harbor for 12 years and Santa Margarita for 20. He should be in any discussion of greatest basketball coaches in county history.
•The two best basketball coaches in the county whom anonymous idiots on Internet message boards insist don't know how to coach are Mater Dei boys basketball coach Gary McKnight and Brea Olinda boys coach, and former longtime girls coach, Jeff Sink. Sink has rallied Brea's boys team into the 3AAA semifinals, and McKnight sets county and state coaching records every time a final buzzer sounds.
•For the first time since the 1980s, the Dana Hills boys basketball team is playing in a CIF-SS quarterfinal. The Dolphins play host to third-seeded West Ranch of Valencia in a 1A quarterfinal today at 7 p.m.
•CIF-SS boys and girls basketball championship games will be played Wednesday through Saturday of next week at Mater Dei and Anaheim Convention Center. Precisely which divisions play on which dates and times will be finalized early next week.
•The baseball season begins Saturday with several nonleague doubleheaders, including this one: Cypress at El Toro, for which the first game is at 11 a.m. In calhisports.com's state preseason rankings, El Toro is No. 7 and Cypress is No. 19.
•The only other county baseball team in the state preseason top 20 is Mater Dei, at No. 3. Cathedral Catholic of San Diego is No. 1.
•County baseball's best early-season tournaments, the Loara and Newport Elks tournaments, begin next Thursday. The Newport Elks Tournament is a 68-team tournament played over four brackets. The Loara is a traditional 32-team tournament.
•Some of the Loara Tournament teams that are among leading candidates for inclusion in the county preseason top 10: El Toro; Cypress; Edison; Los Alamitos; El Dorado; Canyon; Aliso Niguel; and Dana Hills.
•Some of the teams in the Newport Elks Tournament's elite Frank Lerner Division that could be in the county preseason top 10: Capistrano Valley; Huntington Beach; JSerra; Orange Lutheran; and Trabuco Hills.
•Pacifica is No. 1 calhisports.com's softball state preseason rankings. The Mariners have a deep pitching staff, led by Kaylee Carlson, a junior who has committed to North Carolina, and sophomore pitcher Kailee Winegarner, who has committed to Stanford. Last season, Carlson and Winegarner combined for a 28-3 record with 228 strikeouts.
•Other county softball teams in the state preseason top 20: Esperanza, at No. 4; No. 6 Edison; No. 8 Los Alamitos; No. 14 Mission Viejo; No. 18 Mater Dei; and No. 19 Orange Lutheran.