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November 20, 2012The City Section coaches were given an opportunity to fill out questionnaires to discuss their teams and predict the order of finish of the upcoming league season. We tabulated the results and will be presenting our league previews for the leagues whose coaches responded in whole or nearly so. First up is the Eastern League.
Eastern LeagueA poll of the Eastern League coaches reveals the league race shapes up as a two-team race for the top spot between Huntington Park and Bell (each received 3 first place votes of the six respondents). But don't count out Garfield. Roosevelt may have its moments also, but the three other teams all appear to be grouped a notch below the others.
Huntington ParkCoach Joe Reed's team placed third in league last year (8-4) and were seeded 7th in the Division 3 playoffs, losing a 2-point game in the opening round. But the Spartans have reason to believe they will contend for the league title this campaign and hope to go deeper into the playoffs.
Three upperclassmen are the keys. Directing the offense at the point is junior Jesse Palomera, who can score and is determined to make this team a winner. Senior guard Ralph Cervantes has good ball handling skills and is also a very good three-point shooter. Another key contributor will be forward Rogelio Ferrer, an athletic player who is a defensive standout and should be the team leader in steals.
BellIt will be hard to duplicate the success of last season - first in league, 22-6 overall, and the City Section Division 3 champions. But coach Alexander Del Hierro may have the tools to do it or come close.
First, he's got two 3-year varsity players returning and, second, he's got some good height that should test league opponents and cause match up problems galore.
The two 3-year varsity players are 6'1 senior guard Eduardo Sanchez and senior post player Alfredo Renteria who stands 6'7. Junior forward Cesar Renteria is a 6'8 forward who can play inside/outside. Sanchez, who was 2nd team all-league last year, will provide scoring punch with his good shooting and slashing ability.
GarfieldCoach Ricardo Rivas will pin the Bulldogs' hopes on two seniors and a sophomore. Garfield finished 9-3 in league last year, which was good enough for second place. But most of the league's coaches seem to think they'll be a solid pick this season for third place.
Garfield has two guards that will share the point guard duties, but both can also score. Senior Antonio Luna is an excellent shooter/slasher and has some size. Sophomore Andrew Reyes is super quick and handles the ball well. He's also a tough defender.
But maybe the best player on the team is senior forward Willie Arqueto, an excellent athlete who can handle the ball, as well as provide a good presence on the boards.
RooseveltThe Rough Riders finished 4th in league last year and are the coaches' pick to repeat that feat this campaign. But coach Mario Perez's team has enough talent to contend for a higher finish.
Two experienced seniors return and they bring big hopes with them. Shooting guard Erick Rivera is a great team leader and was the team's leading scorer last year. He was also the team leader in steals and co-leader in assists. Forward Jesus Gonzalez is a 6'2 skilled big man and was the team leader in rebounds last year, and second leading scorer.
A talented junior will start at point guard for Roosevelt, Jonathan Hernandez.
L.A. JordanThere is projected to be a 3-team logjam in the bottom half of the league and Jordan is one of them. But coach Ronald Quiette is high on a freshman who will be running the point. He's Semaj Jones and if he develops quickly who knows how high Jordan can go.
Jones appears to be a blossoming talent who has a nice skillset, and he'll have a couple of pretty good shooters to dish off to. One is the shooting guard, junior Jamal White, and the other is senior forward Donte Richardson.
White has the ability to score and shoot from any range, while Richardson can also play great defense.
South EastWe don't have much information on coach Daniel Galvan's squad but their two best players are seniors. Ozzie Villanueva will be one of the team's guards and Eduardo Rangel will man the post.
The Jaguars finished the season last year with a close loss to Garfield and a win over Roosevelt, so hopefully for them the improved play will carry over to this season.
South GateWe were unable to get any current information on new coach Al Rangel's Rams squad. Senior guard Jesus Terrones was the team leader last year in assists and steals, and was the second leading scorer. If he is on the roster this season, then South Gate will have an experienced leader to build around.
Predicted Order of FinishT1. Bell
T1. Huntington Park
T5. Los Angeles Jordan
T5. South East
T5. South Gate
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