Corona del Mar's Matt Ctvrtlik, right, is among the larger-than-usual group of outstanding scorers in the Pacific Coast League.

Fryer on basketball: PCL might be O.C.'s second-best league


The Trinity League is the best boys basketball league that has Orange County teams in it.

That’s easy to prove – all six Trinity teams are on the “watch list” of candidates to be selected to play in the CIF-Southern Section’s elite Open Division in the playoffs.

What is the second-best league? Maybe it’s the Crestview League. Two Crestview teams, Foothill and Villa Park, are in the Register’s Orange County top 10, Esperanza was in the top 10 earlier this season and Canyon is coming off of another CIF-SS championship season.

Maybe it’s the Pacific Coast League. Much supporting evidence exists.

Only one Pacific Coast League team, Irvine, is having trouble getting wins. The other five teams – Beckman, Corona del Mar, Northwood, University and Woodbridge – all have posted impressive wins this season and all four have at least one outstanding scorer.

“This might be the best our league’s been in a long time, maybe ever,” said University coach Mike Dinneen, in his 26th season coaching the Trojans.

There are go-to scorers a-plenty in the Pacific Coast League. Northwood’s Jake Linsky is averaging 22 points a game; University’s Kiron Dey is at 25 points a game; Beckman’s Michael Yee is at 18 points a game, and Corona del Mar has a steady pair with Matt Ctvrtlik and Sam Korbrine averaging around 13 a game.

One of the more exciting games of this season was the Corona del Mar-University game this past Friday. University won in double overtime, 89-85. Dey scored 34 points. Corona del Mar’s Taeveon Le had a season-high 23 points.

“I don’t know how many lead changes there were,” Dinneen said. “That’s one of the best games I’ve ever been involved in.”

As good as the Pacific Coast League is there might be more such games to come.

Jump stops around Orange County boys basketball …

Even Kittelsen of Crean Lutheran tied the county single-game record for 3-pointers Saturday when he made 13 in an 81-36 nonleague win over Calvary Chapel of Downey. The record was established by Brendan Holmes of Marina in the 2007-08 season. Kittelsen scored 42 points Saturday.

• If the county boys basketball ranking was a top 25, here is how this voter would rank teams 11-25: 11. JSerra (13-5); 12. Capistrano Valley Christian (15-4); 13. Esperanza (12-7); 14. Saddleback Valley Christian (10-8); 15. Northwood (15-5); 16. Ocean View (16-4); 17. Beckman (15-4); 18. Corona del Mar (13-6); 19. Newport Harbor (16-4); 20. San Clemente (14-5); 21. Buena Park (15-4); 22. Trabuco Hills (12-7); 23. Woodbridge (12-7); 24. Laguna Beach (14-5); 25. El Toro (14-6).

• The county’s five leading scorers, through Sunday: Eyassu Worku, Los Alamitos, 25.7 points per game; Evan Battey, Villa Park, 24.1; Brad Belshe, Cypress, 23.3; Kezie Okpala, Esperanza, 23.2; and Mark Butler, Savanna, 22.4.

• Top games this week include a pair of Crestview League openers today: Esperanza at Villa Park and Canyon at Foothill. There will be outstanding competition among the student sections at both games.

• Also this week: Garden Grove at Bolsa Grande in the Garden Grove League, Wednesday; Beckman at Northwood in the Pacific Coast League, Thursday; Orange Lutheran at Santa Margarita in the Trinity League, Friday; Edison at Fountain Valley in the Sunset League, Friday; Capistrano Valley Christian at Saddleback Valley Christian in the San Joaquin League, Friday; Buena Park at Troy in the Freeway League, Friday; and Yorba Linda at Villa Park in a nonleague game, Friday.

• Okpala scored 47 points over two games last week, tallying 24 points against Brea Olinda and 23 against El Dorado. Isaac Douglass of Yorba Linda scored 21 against Foothill and 23 against Canyon, and had 10 rebounds in each game.

• Mater Dei lost to Oak Hill Academy, of Mouth of Wilson, Va., 74-55, at the HoopHall Classic in Massachusetts on Monday. The Monarchs’ other two losses were by 11 and three points at the Beach Ball Classic in South Carolina. Oak Hill is No. 2 in USA Today’s national rankings.

• No county boys players were selected to the McDonald’s All-American Game. But some players who will play in the Nike Extravaganza (at Mater Dei, Feb. 5 and 6) were: Lonzo Ball, Chino Hills, 6-foot-6 point guard; Zach Collins, Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas, 6-9 center; and T.J. Leaf, Foothills Christian of El Cajon, 6-9 forward.

• No CIF-Southern Section polls were released Monday. The CIF-SS office was closed for Martin Luther King Day.

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