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NICK AGRO, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Tesoro senior Stephen Melanson looks to pass the ball to a teammate during a recent game against Capistrano Valley.

Fryer on basketball: Tesoro healthy, surging at right time

STAFF WRITER

Tesoro got better when it got healthy.

“We’re eight games into having a full roster,” Tesoro coach Steve Garrett said.

The Titans are 6-2 over those eight games and have won five in a row.

Senior forward Chandler White missed all of December because of a tibia fracture. Senior guard Devon Modster missed the first several games, too, because he was finishing up playing quarterback for Tesoro’s football team. (Modster was a good one, too, winning All-Orange County honors and signing last week with UCLA).

Tesoro has clinched at least a share of the Sea View League championship. The Titans are 5-2 in league, a half-game game ahead of Capistrano Valley and Trabuco Hills, which are tied for second at 4-2 each.

The Titans play a nonleague game at home today against South Coast League-leading San Clemente. Tesoro concludes the regular season Thursday with a league game against visiting Laguna Hills.

Jump stops around Orange County boys basketball:

• If the county boys basketball ranking was a top 25, here is how this voter would rank teams 11-25: 11. Northwood (20-5); 12. JSerra (15-9); 13. Servite (13-13); 14. Capistrano Valley Christian (18-7); 15. Saddleback Valley Christian (14-11); 16. Ocean View (21-4); 17. Corona del Mar (18-7); 18. Tesoro (14-10); 19. San Clemente (18-6); 20. El Toro (18-7); 21. Newport Harbor (20-6); 22. Capistrano Valley (18-9); 23. Sonora (17-9); 24. Aliso Niguel (13-12); 25. Trabuco Hills (15-10).

• This is the final week of the regular season. Most leagues play Tuesday and Thursday of this week. They leave Friday open in case there is a need to schedule an additional game to break a tie in the standings.

• Teams receive guaranteed CIF-Southern Section playoff berths if they are among the top two finishers in four-team leagues like the Crestview and North Hills leagues, are in the top three in five-team leagues like the Sea View and South Coast leagues, and if they are in the top three in six-teams leagues, the most common configuration in county basketball.

• Teams that don’t finish high enough in their league standings to receive guaranteed playoff berths can apply for at-large consideration. An at-large team will be added to a bracket only if there is an opening in the bracket. There is no criteria, i.e. a record of .500 or better, to be eligible for an at-large berth. At-large petitions must be received by the CIF-SS office by 11 p.m. on Friday.

• The CIF-SS creates basketball playoff divisions this way: first, teams are placed into one of the 11 divisions according to enrollment, with the larger schools sent to Division 1AA, the next-largest group in 1A and so on down to the smallest schools in Division 6. From there, teams receive points according to how they have performed in the CIF-SS playoffs over the previous three seasons.

• Teams can move up quite a bit if they have done well in the playoffs. Sonora was a 3AA team last season. Having advanced to CIF-SS championship games the past two seasons, including winning last year’s 3AA championship, Sonora is in Division 1AA this year.

• There is an Open Division. A committee will select up to 16 teams to play in the Open Division. The Open Division bracket will be released Friday.

• The “watch list” of Open Division candidates has 27 teams on it, including four O.C. teams: Los Alamitos, Mater Dei, Orange Lutheran and Santa Margarita.

• Orange Lutheran 6-7 senior forward KaVaughn Scott, the Lancers’ tallest player and perhaps their best at any position, sprained his right ankle Saturday in the team’s loss to Westchester in the Nike Extravaganza. Lutheran coach Chris Nordstrom said there is a slight chance Scott could play Thursday against Santa Margarita in the regular-season finale and is almost certainly unavailable for today’s game against Mater Dei.

• Scott’s injury diminishes Orange Lutheran’s status as an Open Division candidate. A loss to Santa Margarita would do the same.

• On Sunday, the CIF-SS announces at 12:30 p.m. which teams received at-large berths. Playoff brackets are then released, starting with divisions 1AA and 1A at 1 p.m. Subsequent releases of brackets occur every 20 minutes, ending with Division 6 at 2:40 p.m.

• Brackets and other playoffs information will be available Sunday at ocvarsity.com.

• The playoffs begin Feb. 17 with first-round games in all divisions except for the Open Division. The Open Division first round is Feb. 19.

• CIF-SS boys basketball championship games are March 4 and 5 at Honda Center, Azusa Pacific University and Godinez High.

• The Open Division playoffs are played tournament-style; there is a consolation half of the bracket, where first-round losers will be sent. All Open Division teams receive guaranteed entry into the CIF State playoffs.

• The CIF State playoffs begins with the Southern California Regionals (March 9-19) and conclude with the state finals March 24 and 26 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento. The Sacramento Kings play a home game at Sleep Train on March 25.

Contact the writer: sfryer@ocregister.com


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