High school football can be fun to watch, but it’s difficult to beat the thrills of prep basketball. The smaller arena means that 500 fans – who would look pretty lonely in a stadium – are a large and potent force in a gymnasium. The pace of scoring and the proximity of the contest make the game perhaps the most appealing “schoolboy” or “schoolgirl” athletic endeavor of the year.
That said, the local basketball league seasons are about to begin this week and next. Here’s a quick look at the teams and leagues serving the Garden Grove-Huntington Beach-Westminster area.
Boys: Argos, Mariners, Chargers, Panthers, Seahawks
Empire League: Pacifica (10-5) will contend for the league title, probably with Cypress (11-4). Western (8-6) also be in the hunt. Empire action starts on Oct. 9.
Garden Grove League: Garden Grove (13-1) has the best record of any team in the area, its sole loss to Pacifica. Also looking good is La Quinta (10-4), and those two will open GGL play on Jan. 10 in the Aztec gym. Santiago (9-6) and Bolsa Grande (9-6) also will be strong.
Golden West League: Orange (7-1) and Ocean View (12-3) look like the cream of the GWL this year. They will meet for the first time on Jan. 24 at the Seahawk gym. The rest of the league looks good, too, with Segerstrom (7-4), Santa Ana (9-6) and Loara (9-6) posting winning pre-league marks. Westminster (6-8) is not bad, either. Golden West play will also start on Jan. 10.
Sunset League: This league race looks to be wide-open. Newport Harbor (11-4) has the best record so far, but Edison (9-5) and Marina (9-6) are also looking potent. Only Huntington Beach (2-23) and Los Alamitos (3-12) appear to be out of contention. Marina at Edison on Friday (Jan. 5) will be an early crucial.
San Joaquin League: Orangewood Academy(5-8) is in a tough league, with Saddleback Valley Christian (9-3) and Capistrano Valley (8-3) seeming to be the cream of the crop.
Girls: Vaqueros, Seahawks, Irish and Griffins
Empire League: This bunch looks tough top to bottom with five of six posting winning pre-season records. Kennedy (10-4) is on top, but Western (7-3), Pacifica (8-6), Cypress (8-6) and Tustin (7-6) all will be obstacles to whoever seeks the crown.
Garden Grove League: Rancho Alamitos (10-2) has by far the best record, followed by Garden Grove (5-7) and Bolsa Grande (4-7).
Golden West League: Four teams could win this trophy. Ocean View is 10-5, followed by Santa Ana (9-5), Westminster (9-5) and Segerstrom (7-6).
Sunset League: Another muddled situation coming out of December. Los Alamitos (10-4) has the top mark, with Huntington Beach at 9-5 and Edison at 7-7.
San Joaquin League: Orangewood Academy has been a powerhouse for a while, but the Spartans (8-5) are playing a tough pre-league and in a tough conference. Right now, Saddleback Valley Christian (11-3) and Fairmont Prep (9-4).
Of course, pre-season records don’t tell the complete story. January promises to be interesting, to say the least.
Pete Zarustica writes Monday Morning (sometimes Evening) Coach.