It’s a brand new year for the sports world, but with a lot of 2016 still slopping over into 2017. Here are some notes about how things look as one year fades into another.
- League play starts this week for some area high school basketball teams. The Sunset League boys’ schedule tips off on Friday. The most interesting opening night matchup will take place at Edison High when the Chargers host Fountain Valley. Edison (9-2) is one of the top-ranked teams in the area, but the Barons (7-5) are no slouches, either.
- What made Laker management thinks that hiring Luke Walton as head coach was going to make a big difference to this year’s Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time L.A. Squad? Sure, Walton coached the Golden State Warriors to fine record as interim coach when Steve Kerr missed half the season for health reasons, but that team had huge talent, compared to what’s in purple and gold for the Lakers. After Sunday’s 123-114 loss to the Toronto Raptors, they’re at 12-25 and have the 12th-best record in the 15-team Western Conference of the NBA.
- Who will be the next head coach of the Los Angeles Rams? One hot rumor is that Sean Payton, head man for the New Orleans Saints, might be traded to L.A. Yes, it’s possible to trade for a coach. The Saints are 7-9, and the Rams finished 4-12 after a humiliating 44-6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. Payton is considered a possibility because he has a record of developing quarterbacks, and the Rams have bet heavily on rookie Jared Goff, who has been less than impressive in his first season.
Prep football season is over, and it’s time to honor the top players for teams serving the Garden Grove-Huntington Beach-Westminster area. In the Empire League, Brandon O’Connell of Pacifica was chosen co-defensive player of the year. In the Garden Grove League, Ruben Mendoza of Garden Grove was the MVP. Co-offensive MVPs were Steven Hernandez of Los Amigos and Blake Culbert of Rancho Alamitos. Romario Moe Moe of Grove was defensive MVP and Peselao Gauta, also of Grove, was lineman of the year. Andy Diaz of La Quinta was chosen as coach of the year.
- Wait, there’s more! In the Golden West League, Josh Avila of Westminster was a co-offensive player of the year, while Noah Tiliaia-Faletoi of Orange was lineman of the year. The MVP of the Sunset League was Griffin O’Connor of Edison. Defensive player of the year was Kenny Carmichael of Edison, and Cooper Malerstein of Marine was co-offensive back of the year. E.J. Ennis was defensive back of the year, and Mike Saffell of Edison was the top offensive lineman. Kicker of the year was Jack Morrell of Edison and punter of the year was Rand Keidel of Marina.
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