Mario Soto is shown driving to the basket last season for Mater Dei. Soto has filed paperwork with the CIF-SS to transfer to Saddleback Valley Christian.

Fryer on basketball: SVC close to adding Soto


A look at Orange County boys basketball:

Mario Soto, a 6-foot-6 senior, is in the process of transferring from Mater Dei to Saddleback Valley Christian. The CIF-Southern Section on Monday was reviewing Soto's valid change of residence paperwork. Soto could be immediately eligible at Saddleback Valley Christian if the section office confirms a valid change of residence has been made.

• Soto is the second projected starter at Mater Dei to leave the school in the past two months. Jayce Johnson, a 6-11 sophomore, transferred to JSerra before the season started.

• Johnson did not make the change of residence that could make him athletically eligible immediately, so he must sit out the first 30 days of the season. He will be eligible to play for JSerra on Jan. 8 when the Lions play at Orange Lutheran in the Trinity League opener.

• Villa Park won the Morro Bay Tournament last week. Kevin Olsen, Luke Selway and CJ Thomas were named all-tournament. Four Spartans, led by Selway's 15 points, scored in double figures in their 68-58 win over Escondido in the tournament championship game.

• How this member of the five-person media panel voted on the county top 10 this week: 1. Mater Dei; 2. El Toro; 3. Villa Park; 4. JSerra; 5. Mission Viejo; 6. Canyon; 7. Foothill; 8. Sonora; 9. Dana Hills; 10. Saddleback Valley Christian.

• Top games this week: San Gabriel Academy of San Gabriel (a rapidly ascending program) at El Toro, Tuesday; Laguna Beach at Dana Hills, Sonora at Woodbridge and Mission Viejo at Huntington Beach, Wednesday; Trabuco Hills at Villa Park, Thursday; and Los Alamitos at Canyon, Servite at Sonora and Aliso Niguel at Trabuco Hills, Friday.

• Among next week's tournaments are the North Orange County Championships, at Sonora and other sites and featuring Canyon, Orange Lutheran, Saddleback Valley Christian, Servite and host school Sonora; the Gary Raya/Irvine World News Classic at the Irvine schools, including El Toro, Esperanza and San Clemente; and the Charlie Wilkins Memorial at Westminster, with Corona del Mar, Huntington Beach and Westminster.

• The Servite-Sonora game will include quite a sideshow — two of the county's more-rambunctious student sections.

• Mater Dei senior Stanley Johnson, last season's county player of the year and an early leader for state player of the year, was consistent last week as the Monarchs went 4-0 in the Diablo Inferno to win the tournament at Mission Viejo. Johnson's lowest scoring output was 31 points against Trabuco Hills and Temecula Valley, and his high was 35 against Mission Viejo.

• The team that beat El Toro in the Jim Harris Memorial Tournament of Champions is a good one. Compton, No. 8 in's preseason state rankings, defeated the Chargers, 70-63.

• County players who were all-tournament at the ToC: George Buaku, Sean Harman and Jake Lunardi of El Toro; CJ Hankins and Keisean Lucier-South of Orange Lutheran; and Dylan Osetkowski and Johnnie Vassar of JSerra.

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