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Posted On: 06/25/18 9:00 AM
Corona del Mar, Ca. — The three-day Sea Kings’ Summer Shootout featured many of the top programs in Orange County from private schools’ the likes of Mater Dei and Santa Margarita down to strong public school programs in Anaheim Canyon, Newport Harbor, Capistrano Valley, Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach Edison.
Here are four things we learned while taking in the solid summer league slate:
Riverside Poly preparing for another strong season
The Bears of Riverside Poly scored a couple big wins over the weekend, first over Canyon on Saturday and then over a full-strength Santa Margarita Sunday. Oh, and they did it without star point guard Lamont Butler. Poly coach Yancy Dodson and his staff of Julius Smith and Justin Downer have a solid core returning from last season’s team that reached the CIF Southern Section Division 2A championship game. Along with Butler, talented role players Budd Bernie, Trent Thornton and Derek Rubidoux highlight a gritty and high IQ squad that adds sharpshooting Citrus Hill transfer Evan Oliver and super athletic Gardena Serra transfer Jamal Briscoe.
Newport Harbor and Laguna Beach execute just as well during the summer as they do in-season
With so many high level teams led by great coaching staffs, the smaller, beachside public schools sometimes get lost in the fold. Newport Harbor coach Bob Torribio and Laguna Beach coach Bret Fleming consistently get the most out of the hands they are dealt. Rarely do you hear of those programs landing a big time transfer, leaving them to lace-up with local players from the area. Both squads execute intricate offensive schemes to a “T” and play hard on both ends of the floor.
Guard addition will be helpful for Santa Margarita
For all the front court talent the Eagles have had over the last handful of years, their guard play has been equally as shaky. Some help has arrived in South OC by way of Virginia in 6-foot-1 Chantilly High transfer Kendall McHugh. McHugh is a physical, quick and athletic point guard who got into the paint at-will and kicked to teammates spotting up behind the 3-point line. The 6-foot-1 rising senior is still getting up to speed with Santa Margarita’s offense and how they operate, but he’s an add that will be impactful come the regular season.
Breakers have an intriguing sophomore-to-be
It’s not just the coaches of the beachside schools who get overlooked, the players sometimes fly under-the-radar, as well. Class of 2021 forward Nolan Naess is a name to get familiar with. The 6-foot-6 rising sophomore has an awkward, yet effective shooting strong that’s consistent from multiple spots behind the 3-point line. Naess is a high motor and high IQ guy who understands the intricacies of the game and is definitely a prospect to track.