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Fryer: Best of the West will test Oilers' strength

STAFF WRITER

The streak is about to be tested.

Huntington Beach’s boys volleyball team takes a national-record 113-match winning steak into the Best of the West Invitational that starts today at Poway High. The 32-team event includes eight teams that are in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 top 10, including No. 1 Huntington Beach.

The Oilers, also No. 1 in Orange County, got their 113th straight win Tuesday with a four-games win over Servite. They also have a streak of three CIF-SS championships in a row.

Ken Goldstone, in his 17th season as coach of San Clemente which is also in the Best of the West, admires what Huntington Beach has accomplished, but he thinks the Oilers might not be as insurmountable as they have been over the past couple of seasons.

“There are some teams out there that can challenge them,” said Goldstone. “All of these teams in this tournament might challenge them.”

The Best of the West, which concludes Saturday night, is divided into eight pools of four teams each. Matches are best-of-three. The No. 1 team in CIF-SS Division 2, Oak Park, and Division 3 No. 1 El Segundo also are in it, as are standout teams from San Diego and other areas.

San Clemente was 1-1 going into Thursday’s home match against Capistrano Valley. The Tritons beat Laguna Beach and lost to county No. 3 Newport Harbor. Among their leading players is senior outside hitter Aaron Strange, who signed with USC.

Strange figures the Best of the West competition will be valuable for the Tritons.

“All we’ll be doing these two days is playing volleyball,” Strange said. “Our incoming juniors will get so much court experience that this will help us get ready for league, which really is most important.”

Goldstone said this is a balanced year in county volleyball. Several teams are candidates to end the Huntington Beach streak and push the Oilers off of the top of the rankings where they’ve been for so long.

“Corona del Mar might be just as talented,” Goldstone said. “I think if we’re playing at 100 percent we can give them a good challenge.”

But for now …

“They deserved to be No. 1 until somebody beat them,” Goldstone said.

Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:

• First-round games in the Open Division of CIF Southern California Regionals boys and girls basketball will be played today. Second-round games in Divisions I-V are Saturday. All regionals boys and girls basketball games Saturday start at 6 p.m.

• The Southern California Regionals have 16 teams in Divisions I-V in both boys and girls basketball. Eight teams are in the boys Open Division and eight are in the girls Open Division.

• The regionals continue with semifinals in all divisions Tuesday. Southern California Regionals finals are March 19 at The Pyramid at Long Beach State and at Colony High of Ontario.

• Updates for high school games can be found at Twitter, using the hashtag #ocvupdates. For the CIF State basketball tournament, in addition to #ocvupdates for local action, and for statewide news #cifbb is the prevailing hashtag.

• Follow me at twitter.com/stevefryer for CIF State tournament and other breaking high school news.

• Orange Lutheran senior forward KaVaughn Scott, whose free throw with eight seconds remaining completed a three-point play and provided the margin of victory in the Lancers’ Division II 63-62 win over Army-Navy of Carlsbad, was asked when was the last time he made such a big free throw. “That big?” he said. “I can’t remember.”

• Orange Lutheran’s girls basketball team had an easier time of it in a Division III win over Westchester of Los Angeles. The Lancers won, 56-14. Jessie Matson outscored the opponent herself with 16 points, including four 3-pointers.

• Wednesday’s first round of the basketball regionals featured some sizeable upsets. Edison, seeded No. 2 in Division III, lost to No. 15 Kearny of San Diego. In Division I, No. 13-seeded Roosevelt of Eastvale beat No. 4 Fairfax of L.A., 56-55, in double overtime. In Division II, No. 16 Temecula Valley beat top-seeded Taft of Woodland Hills and another Woodland Hills team, No. 15 El Camino Real, defeated No. 2 Cantwell Sacred Heart of Montebello.

• Baseball’s Loara Tournament did a fine job of scheduling around rain visits. The tournament championship game, in which Aliso Niguel will play the winner of Thursday’s El Toro-Cyress game, is at Glover Stadium/Dee Fee Field in Anaheim on Saturday at 7 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and $1 for students and for children.

• The Lerner Bracket of the Newport Elks baseball tournament concludes Saturday at 11 a.m. at JSerra. Tesoro, which beat Capistrano Valley, 12-0, on Thursday, will face JSerra for the title in the top bracket of the 78-team tournament.

• JSerra plays host to Huntington Beach in a baseball doubleheader Monday, weather permitting. The first game is scheduled for 3 p.m., the second at 6 p.m.

• In this week’s CIF-SS baseball Division 1 top 10, JSerra is No. 1 and Huntington Beach is No. 4. Huntington Beach was No. 1 in the O.C. baseball season-opening rankings, with JSerra at No. 2.

• Also in baseball Division 1, Orange Lutheran is No. 3, Cypress is No. 6, Servite is No. 7 and Capistrano Valley is No. 10.

• Fountain Valley is expected to announce its football coach today. Fountain Valley is waiting for the coach to inform his players at his current school that he is leaving before Fountain Valley makes the announcement. We, too, will wait until the coach tells his Inland Empire school’s players that he’s moving on.

Rob Johnson replaced older brother Bret Johnson as offensive coordinator for Mission Viejo football. Bret resigned to watch quarterback son Brock play college football. Brock was the Register’s offensive player of the year this past season.

• Also at Mission Viejo football, former Tustin/USC/NFL offensive lineman Sam Baker is a fulltime assistant coach. Baker, who helped out partime during the second half the ’15 season, will coach the offensive line. Thomas Schooler, father of Mission Viejo players Brenden and Colin Schooler, will coach the defensive line.

• College Sports Quest, in its 15th year matching student-athletes with scholarship opportunities, offers a free college recruiting workshop Saturday at 10 a.m. at UC Irvine. Registration is required at collegesportsquest.com.

• Newport Harbor will host a free seminar on college recruiting Monday at 6:30 p.m. in its Social Hall. The event is a presentation of the National Collegiate Scouting Agency. Call 949-516-6310 for more information.

Contact the writer: sfryer@ocregister.com


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