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SoCalHoops High School News

High School Team Preview:
La Quinta (Westminster) HS--(Nov. 26, 1999)

La Quinta High School, at least the one we're talking about here, is located in Westminster, and is a part of the Garden Grove Unified School District. The team competes in the Garden Grove League in Southern Section, and has an enrollment of 1450 coed, 4 year students .  The school competes in Division III-AA (at least it did last year) for playoff purposes, against teams like Bishop Montgomery, Pomona, La Canada, Alemany, and last year's Southern Section Champions, San Dimas.   There is talk that this season, the III-AA and III-A divisions will be combined, but as we write this nothing has been determined in that regard.

The Garden Grove League has a couple of schools with names identical to other schools also located in the Southern Section:  Santiago of Garden Grove shares the same name with Santiago of Corona which plays in the Mountain View League;  La Quinta of Westminster also shares the same name with La Quinta of the desert community (also of the same name); the latter school plays in the Desert Valley League, and the only thing the two schools seemingly share is an affinity for small, quick guards. La Quinta (La Quinta) has one of the better combo guards in the Southern Section in Skyler Wilson (6'-0" Jr. PG/SG), who is rated as one of the top point guards in SoCal by SoCalHoops. Unfortunately for La Quinta of Westminster, sharing a common name and an affinity for smallish, but quick guards,  is about all the two really have in common this year, and the Garden Grove school has been predicted to have a much tougher time this year than it did last season.  They lost a few players, but picked up a new coach, so really anything might happen.  

La Quinta Westminster has been picked by the Orange County Register to finish sixth in the Garden Grove League this year, behind everyone (Bolsa Grande, Pacifica, Los Amigos, Santiago and Rancho Alamitos, in that order) besides predicted last place finisher Garden Grove. Like Santiago though, they've got a first year head coach in Jason Carey, and thus come into the new season somewhat unencumbered by the past.  But this is not the same old "good news, bad news" story.  La Quinta last year finished second in league with an impressive 17-9 overall record and a 9-3 league season, putting them in contention for a shot at a Southern Section Division III-AA title.  That never happened though as the Aztecs managed to pull Pomona in the First round of the playoffs and lost in one of the lowest scoring games in recent memory of Southern Section playoffs, 39-31.  

This team preview, like the rest of the Garden Grove League team previews, is admittedly short in length, and it's also short on much analysis or substance when it comes to the players listed on each team's roster.  We have not spoken with the Aztecs new head coach, Jason Carey, nor do we think he's had time to really get himself oriented since he just got hired two weeks ago, and more importantly, as we've said before, we just don't have the resources to speak with every single coach of every team in the Southern Section prior to the start of the season, since there are more than 500 schools in the Southern Section alone.  We want to get as many previews up as possible, and so in order to do that, we have to rely to an extent, sometimes greater and sometimes not at all, on the traditional print media, aka the local papers. In this case, we're relying almost exclusively on the LA Times and the Orange County Register, and the short previews they published this week on November 25, 1999, which was compiled by Curtis Zupke of the Register, and in the Times preview articles published on November 23 in the OC Edition which were compiled by Paul McLeod and Peter Yoon. And while it's not much, it's all we've got.

The LA Times was a bit more optimistic than the Register was about the Aztec's chances this year, and candidly, with four returning players, they should still compete. Here's what The Times said on 11/23 in their small preview of the team: "Jason Carey's hiring was announced two weeks ago, but he has 11 seniors and three juniors from which to pick a starting five. About the only one sure of a starting role is Matt Blanchard, a 5-11 senior guard who averaged 8.6 points last season. Rene Sanchez, a 5-10 senior guard, and David Chan, a 6-1 senior forward, should also see plenty of action, along with top newcomers Duy Duong, a 5-8 senior guard, and Joe Rodgers, a 6-2 junior forward."   The Register was a bit less charitable by picking them next to last in league, but did have this from Carey:  "Cary says his team is smaller and less experienced but will make up for it with quickness and speed."   Of course he'll need to if they are to have a hope of making the playoffs this year again.  Neither paper published the complete rosters, but here's what we know:

Joe Rogers 6'-2" Jr. F
David Chan 6'-1" Sr. F
Rene Sanchez 5'-10" Sr. G
Matt Blanchard 5'-11" Sr. G
Duy Duong 5'-8" Sr. G
Michael Nguyen 5'-11" Sr. G
Huy Nguyen 5'-7" Sr. G
Jumbo Tran 6'-3" Jr. C

La Quinta will begin play next week with the usual round of preseason tournaments, including hosting their own this year again.  Here's a look at the schedule:

Nov. 29-Dec. 4 @ National Sports Grill Tournament
Dec. 6-11 La Quinta Tournament
Dec. 17 @ Buena Park
Dec. 20 @ La Mirada
Dec. 27-30 @ Canyon tournament
Jan 5 *Garden Grove
Jan 7 @*Santiago
Jan 10 *Bolsa Grande
Jan 12 @*Pacifica
Jan 19 *Los Amigos
Jan 21 @*Rancho Alamitos
Jan 24 @*Garden Grove
Jan 26 *Santiago
Jan 28 @*Bolsa Grande
Feb 2 *Pacifica
Feb 8 @*Los Amigos
Feb 10 *Rancho Alamitos

 The Swish Award
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