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SoCalHoops High School News

High School Team Preview:
Loara High School--(Nov. 27, 1999)

Loara High School is picked by the Orange County Register this year to finish in second place in the Empire League, but that might be too low for a team which is the two-time defending champion.  The school is located in Anaheim and is part of the Anaheim UHSD, and with an enrollment of 2200 students, it's in Division I-A of the Southern Section for playoff purposes.  Last year, the team compiled an impressive 24-4 record overall, and went 9-1 in league. Advancing to the Southern Section D-I playoffs, the Saxons defeated Mira Costa 68-67 in the first round and then lost to Ventura 64-59 in the second round in a tough and hard fought game.

The Saxons are coached by Ed Prange, who is going into his 10th season at Loara having amassed a 111-121 record thus far.  We haven't spoken to Coach Prange for this preview, but from what he's said to reporters from the local papers, i.e., the LA Times Orange County Edition and the Orange County Register, a repeat first place finish against league opponents like El Dorado, Cypress or even Katella, Kennedy and Century might be a bit too optimistic.  Indeed, even the Orange County Register doesn't pick the Saxons to repeat this year, but instead projects them in second place behind an improved El Dorado team.  We don't know a lot about the roster, but we know a bit more than some of the other teams in this league.

Wes Wardrop 6'-2" Jr. SG
Chris Moses 6'-0" So. PG/SG
Dan Melton 6'-8" Sr. C
Collin Brennan 5'-11" Jr. G
Mike Graham 6'-1" Jr. G
Nate Von Achen 6'-2" Jr. G

These are the only players whom Prange identified to the papers (or at least they're the only ones the papers disclosed) and there should be bunch of guys also coming up from the jv team considering that there are only three returning varsity guys from last year, Wardrop, Melton and Moses. Indeed that's the same thing the Register's Richard Manfredi said in his preview of the team (published 11/24/99):   "Plenty of players from last year's JV squad will have to contribute and help returning all-league performer Wardrop." 

Wes is indeed an excellent shooter, and this summer he played with one of the Rockfish teams in addition to competing in the Rockfish Spring League.  A lot of people get him confused with Villa Park's Matt MacGinnis, and it's not that they look alike, it's just that they have very similar games.  West is an excellent outside shooter, with a good quick release on his shot, and he can also drive and slash to the hole, although putting the ball on the floor is not his real strength.   He's an able defender, and should have another big season if he can find guys who will feed him the ball and set some screens, where he's especially effective.    Likewise, Dan Melton is a good young post player and Moses has a nice handle. About the others, we'll just have to wait and see.   

The LA Times' OC Edition preview, published 11/23/99 had this to say about Loara:  " The two-time defending league champions are expected to be led by 6-2 junior guard Wes Wardrop, one of three returning lettermen. The others are 6-8 senior center Dan Melton and 6-foot sophomore guard Chris Moses. The remainder of the team will be made up of players from the junior varsity team that went 4-6 in league play. And Coach Ed Prange is concerned after his team posted a 3-11 record in summer leagues. "Most of these kids have no experience and will have to step in immediately to help," he said.

We'll get to find out soon enough about Loara and how good they are because the season starts on Monday with the tip off of the Loara Tournament, which will run from November 29-Dec. 4 at Loara High School.  Here's the team schedule for the 1999-2000 season, and a map so you'll know how to find the school.   Oh yes, please also be warned that this schedule comes from the CIF's "Master Schedule and Media Guide" which is frequently wrong, at least it's wrong often enough that we'd be sure to check either the local papers or with the school before making the trip to any of the games. Don't blame us if you don't check first. Really.

Nov. 29-Dec. 4 Loara Tournament
Dec. 6-11 @ La Quinta Tournament
Dec. 15 @Magnolia
Dec. 17 Servite
Dec. 21 @ John Glenn
Dec. 27-30 @ Canyon Anaheim Tournament
Jan 3 Tustin
Jan 7 @*Kennedy
Jan 12 @*Cypress
Jan 14 *El Dorado
Jan 19 @*Century
Jan 21 *Katella
Jan 28 *Kennedy
Feb 2 *Cypress
Feb 4 @*El Dorado
Feb 9 *Century
Feb 11 @*Katella
Loara High School
1765 West Cerritos Avenue, Anaheim, CA
(714) 999-3677
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